Want to pull your name off the medical cannabis petition? Too late!
(KUTV) - It is being called one of the ugliest political fights in Utah history, the battle to get medical cannabis on the November ballot. Monday at the end of business was the deadline to get your name off the petition if you signed it. Political watchers say this fight could mean legal challenge after legal challenge.
After a 4 year effort to get legislators to pass a law that would allow people with chronic pain, epilepsy and other medical issues, to pass a medical cannabis bill failed, proponents decided to take on the daunting task of getting the issue on the November ballot. The Utah Patient’s Coalition and TRUCE, Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education, collected more than 144,000 signatures. It was considered a remarkable feat, one that several groups including Drug Safe Utah, The DEA, The Eagle Forum, and The Utah Medical Association, began to thwart, trying to get people to remove their names from a petition they already signed.
The effort lead to allegations of shady activity by both sides. Then on Friday, at 3:00, with just 2 days till the deadline to remove names, the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints, through its law firm, Kirton McConkie, released a 31 point legal analysis of the Medical Cannabis petition, that suggest multiple problems with the initiative. Connor Boyack with Libertas Institute says the timing of the release is suspect, “it very much comes off as a political hit piece released at the 11th hour hoping to sway things and get a few more people to remove their signatures. It is the latest salvo in a battle that has grown uglier with each passing day. As the petition battle grew heated, TRUCE released a video of a woman, who claimed to be with the Utah Medical Association and the county clerk’s office, making several dubious claims, Christine Stenquist with TRUCE, says the debate and “ugly” politics is weighing on her, “I’m a patient I’m still a brain tumor patient and these tactics are draining on my physically, emotionally,” says Stenquist.
Michell McOmber with Drug Safe Utah, a group who is fighting to get names off the petition, says she’s seen potentially illegal activity on both sides, and has a warning for her opponents, “be careful where you throw mud because it will cling right back to you
The deadline to remove your name has passed, now the issue is in the hands of the Lieutenant Governor’s office. They have until June 1st to certify names on the petition, then beginning June 15th, legal challenges can begin, Boyack says which there most certainly will be, “as for right now I think what you're going to see is some legal battles there are going to be some court looking into some allegations that are being made about fraud,” says Boyack.