(KUTV) — Hours after it supported Drug Safe Utah's coalition against a November ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana in Utah, the LDS Church mailed a letter to its members urging voters to vote "no."
According to the letter from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — commonly known as the Mormon Church — Propostion 2 goes much further than making medical marijuana available to those it could help.
It said the measure is " ... creating a serious threat to health and public safety, especially for our youth and young adults, by making marijuana generally available with few controls."
In May, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox announced the initiative was approved for the ballot after it collected more than 150,000 signatures to qualify.
Previously Utah lawmakers proposed bills to approve medical marijuana for several years, but legal medicinal marijuana failed to become law.
According to a poll by Dan Jones & Associates, 77 percent of Utah adults "strongly" or "somewhat" support the legalization of medical marijuana.
In February 2016, the LDS Church came out publicly against a medical marijuana bill at the legislature. It stated:
"Along with others, we have expressed concern about the unintended consequences that may accompany the legilization of medicial marijuana. We have expressed opposition to Sen. Madesn's bill because of that concern."
A law was passed to allow terminally ill patients use to the drug.
Thursday's statement called for elected officials to work on a solution:
As a member of the coalition, we urge voters of Utah to vote NO on Proposition 2, and join us in a call to state elected officials to promptly work with medical experts, patients, and community leaders to find a solution that will work for all Utahns, without the harmful effects that will come to pass if Proposition 2 becomes law.
The email from the LDS Church was signed by Craig C. Christensen, the president of the Utah Area for the Church. It included the statement from the coalition and linked to it's legal analysis on MormonNewsroom.com.
It is not clear if every Church member was sent a letter, but multiple copies were made available to KUTV from several sources.