[REGIONAL NEWS] Patient-advocate groups drop claim church influenced medical marijuana changes

Supporters of Proposition 2 picked up T-shirts and lawn signs during a kick-off rally in Midvale./The Salt Lake Tribune | Kathy Stephenson

By Annie Knox | Deseret News

Patient advocacy groups in Utah have dropped their argument in a legal challenge that lawmakers made broad changes to a voter-approved plan legalizing medical marijuana at the behest of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The groups’ Friday court filings now focus on claims that lawmakers violated voters’ constitutional rights and passed directives that conflict with federal law, which still considers marijuana an illegal drug.

The recrafted argument comes after the Utah Attorney General’s Office contended in filings last week that lawmakers had the authority to change the law. The office asked a judge to toss the suit, arguing the church was exercising its right to free speech when it called on lawmakers to find a different solution to Proposition 2, and when the church announced it was working to identify legislation it believed to be appropriate.

“The church was simply expressing its views and desires on a matter of public interest, as any person or group has the right to do,” the Attorney General’s filing says.


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