Utah Medical Association weighs in on medical marijuana ballot initiative

Local Politics

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – The Utah Medical Association wants to make its position known about a medical marijuana initiative proposed for the November ballot.

The Utah Medical Association (UMA) is concerned supporters of the Medical Cannabis Initiative are “misrepresenting and misappropriating” the position of the medical profession in Utah.

Advocates of medical marijuana in Utah are currently working to gather signatures to get the issue on the 2018 ballot.

Last week, Governor Gary Herbert released a statement explaining why he will “actively oppose” the initiative.

He was applauded by organizations like the Sutherland Institute, but slammed by leaders with The Libertas Institute and Utah Patients Coalition.

In a statement, the UMA says in part it “unequivocally states its opposition to the current initiative and applauds Gov. Herbert for speaking out in opposition as well, fulfilling his role in protecting public health and safety.”

UMA says it is concerned because the Libertas Institute nor any other supporters of the ballot initiative speak for the physicians of Utah, nor for most of their patients.

This initiative is not about medicine, the group says. “Supporters have used images and stories of suffering patients to disguise their true aim: opening another market for their products and paying the way for recreational use of marijuana in Utah.”

Leaders with the UMA are urging citizens who were “unknowingly fooled” into the signing the petition to contact the Lieutenant Governor’s Office or their county clerk to get a form to have it removed.

TRUCE Utah (Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education) said Monday the UMA’s statement is “riddled with deliberate misinformation and fear-mongering.” 

Christine Stenquist, Executive Director of TRUCE Utah, responded to the UMA’s claim that the initiative will help open another market for their products saying “Nothing could be further from the truth. Throughout its existence, TRUCE’s leadership has been entirely comprised of patients and caregivers who are only seeking the best treatment options for their conditions. TRUCE operates as a non-profit and nearly all of its work is completed by unpaid volunteers who have never received a single cent for their multitude of efforts.”

TRUCE Utah also notes UMA does not speak for all Utah physicians and their statement does not necessarily reflect the position of every one of its members.

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. 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...