Medical cannabis advocates drop claims of LDS Church involvement in Prop. 2 lawsuit

Posted at 4:09 PM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 19:56:20-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Medical cannabis advocates suing the state over the legislature’s replacement of Proposition 2 have dropped a claim that it was done at the behest of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE) and the Epilepsy Association of Utah amended their lawsuit on Friday to drop claims of LDS Church interference.

“There is a tension here between First Amendment rights and the state constitutional provision prohibiting domination and interference between a religious organization and the state,” Rocky Anderson, the attorney for TRUCE and EAU. “Of course, we have to recognize this unique provision came about because of the theocracy in our state.”

Anderson said, “in many areas, it’s undisputable that state policy and state laws are dictated by the LDS Church.” But Anderson told FOX 13 he did not believe it would be as successful of an argument in court compared to another. He’s doubling-down on arguments that federal drug law supersedes state law, and Utah is effectively creating a state-run cartel by overseeing the growing and distribution of marijuana.

“We’re going to go in on this pre-emption argument and we’re going to win,” he said. “HB3001 will be dead and the initiative statute that arose because of Prop. 2 will be revived.”

FOX 13 first reported earlier this week the Utah Attorney General’s Office asked a judge to dismiss TRUCE and EAU’s lawsuit, arguing the legislature had the authority to modify or replace a citizen referendum. It also insisted there was no collusion between the Church and the state. Instead, the state argued, the LDS Church exercised its First Amendment right to weigh in on social issues.

Read the amended lawsuit here: