Despite Mormon leaders opposing a citizen initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Utah, two of three active Utah Mormons support the measure.
Nearly three of four Utahns are in favor of a proposed ballot initiative that would legalize medical marijuana, according to a new UtahPolicy.com poll. The poll of more than 600 Utah adults reveals that support for legalizing cannabis for medical purposes even extends to a majority of the state’s Mormons, who have historically opposed cannabis policy changes.
Campaign group Utah Patients Coalition is currently gathering the signatures it needs to certify a medical marijuana ballot initiative. The Utah Medical Cannabis Act, which would permit non-smokable forms of medical cannabis for over 10 qualifying conditions, needs 113,143 voter signatures by April 15, 2018 to qualify for the 2018 ballot.
Mormon leaders in the state, who have battled state lawmakers and politicians about cannabis laws in the past, have publicly opposed the initiative. The results of this latest survey, however, found that just 33 percent of “very active” Mormons agree with their church leaders and oppose medical marijuana legalization.
Rather, 63 percent of “active” members of the Mormon religion in Utah that were surveyed said they support the initiative. Support among “somewhat active” members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) was found to be even higher, at 80.15 percent. Support among former Mormons who have left the faith was found to be 87 percent.
Favor for medical marijuana was found across all measured demographics. Utah Republicans and Democrats both support passage of the citizen initiative at 61 percent and 93 percent, respectively. Political independents favor the measure at 87 percent. Ninety-seven percent of those who self-described themselves as politically “very liberal” were found to favor medical marijuana legalization, and 84 percent of “moderates” liked the petition. Even 51 percent of those who self-described their political identities as “very conservative” favored legalization.
Support for the measure was also found among Utahns of other religions. Catholics favored medical marijuana at 80 percent, and Protestants at 61 percent. Ninety-six percent of those with no religion said they favored the measure.
Utah’s GOP-controlled Legislature, which is 80 percent Mormon, has refused several times to pass laws that would authorize medical marijuana use. Republican Senator Mark B. Madsen proposed a medical cannabis bail in 2015, but it failed because the Legislature said it wanted to first study the issue further. Since then, well respected Utah philanthropist, cancer survivor, and LDS member Jon Huntsman Sr. publicly voiced support for medical marijuana.
As of now, Utah has in place a hemp cannabidiol (CBD)-extract law that applies only to patients diagnosed with intractable epilepsy.
The results of the survey are an indication that Utah has a strong chance of joining the other 29 U.S. states that have passed laws permitting the use of medical marijuana. Overall, only 22 percent said they oppose the petition, and just 4 percent remained undecided.
Other recent polls have showed similar levels of support. A survey from Dan Jones & Associates from earlier this summer found that 77 percent of voters in Utah support The Utah Medical Cannabis Act.
The UtahPolicy.com commissioned poll surveyed 608 adults from August 30 to September 5.