Lawsuit aims to stop medical marijuana initiative from getting on the ballot

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – Opponents of Proposition 2, the medical marijuana initiative, are asking for an injunction to prevent the measure from getting on the ballot. Supporters of the initiative are calling it a “political parlor trick.” with ballots about to be certified.

This is the second time a lawsuit has been filed to stop the measure.

Walter Plumb III is one of the plaintiffs listed in the case along with the Coalition For a Safe and Healthy Utah, and Drug Safe Utah. Plumb argues a recent Supreme Court victory for a Colorado baker gives them the constitutional argument.

“Can the state force me and others that are property owners to rent to someone with a medical marijuana card?” asked Plumb.

The lawsuit is directed at the Lt. Governor’s Office which is in control of elections. DJ Schanz who is Director of the Utah Patients Coalition said they not only find the lawsuit silly, but offensive to patients needing the help.

“We don’t think this lawsuit has any merit,” said Schanz. “Once again we think this is a political parlor trick, and unfortunately it’s a very offensive one. To call medical patients repugnant.”

Schanz is referring to a line in the lawsuit which claims it will affect the free religious exercise of Utah’s LDS population by

“…in effect mandating that they lease their real property to people using and possessing cannabis, the use, and possession of which is morally repugnant to members of the LDS faith.”

Plumb said the line is taken out of context.

“You have to take that in context,” said Plumb. “That lawsuit is brought for three narrow constitutional issues.”

Supporters of the measure point to polling which showed more than 60 percent of active LDS Members in Utah support the initiative.

“For this group to cloak their opposition ballot initiative in their religion I think is poor policy and really bad form,” said Schanz.

Political experts said it’s too early to know if the lawsuit will help or hurt either side. Associate Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics, Morgan Lyon Cotti, notes that unlike politicians ballot initiatives often face lawsuits before and after the election.

“Sometimes we forget with these bigger issues, these policy issues, they are often also decided with lawsuits,” said Lyon Cotti.

The Lt. Governor’s Office said they don’t respond to pending litigation. They will inform county clerks of the finalized ballots on August 31st.

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Glen Mills

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For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...