The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helped rewrite our medical marijuana laws, and the people don't want it that way.
Connor Boyack, president and founder of the Liberatus Institute has never used marijuana. "I was a pretty straight edge Mormon kid. It was not part of my growing up," he says. But despite that, he and his team at the Institute are the reason why medical marijuana made it to Utah.
Home alone one evening, Mr. Boyack found himself enthralled with the documentary, Weed. CNN's lead physician, Dr. Sanjay Gupta was involved in the documentary and decided to feature a little girl by the name of Charlotte Figi, who was using marijuana to help treat her epilepsy. As soon as she implemented the medical marijuana regimen (she was using a cannabis strain low in THC and high in CBD) it almost completely eliminated her seizures.
Inspired by her story, and intrigued by the potential of medical marijuana for patients in need throughout Utah, Mr. Boyack, his team at the Liberatus Institute, former senator Steve Urquhart, and former senator Mark Madsen helped pass a landmark bill in 2014 legalizing the use of CBD cannabis extracts containing low percentages of THC (the psychoactive chemical in marijuana) for those with epilepsy.
But Mr. Boyack and his team weren't content. They wanted to help even more patients in need, so they began drafting Proposition 2, which they hoped, would legalize medical marijuana usage for a broader scope of patients. "It was myself and our vice president who went out and fundraised $1 million to get [the medical marijuana] campaign off of the ground," he says, mentioning that the group later formed the Utah Patients Coalition.
However, despite gathering more than the required signatures needed to get on the ballot, Mr. Boyack was worried about losing the battle of legalization in such a conservative state. And his fears only worsened when the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its allies promised to commit over a million dollars in ad spending against the proposition.
"I am a member of the LDS church and I opposed my own church's involvement in the initiative so vocally that they wrote a legal memo directly in response to my organization's rebuttal of their legal memo," Mr. Boyack says. "We were on quite opposite sides. I have many scars for those who want to see them."
But despite all odds, and church involvement, Proposition 2 did pass--to a tune of 52.75 percent--giving a number of...