Medical cannabis is currently a hot topic issue in Utah as voting day approaches. The state will vote to legalize the drug in November for those with qualifying diseases under the Proposition 2 ballot. The Mormon church has released their stance on the ballot numerous times, urging church members in the state of Utah to vote ‘no’ on election day. Today, the church publicly announced that recreational use of the drug goes against their Word of Wisdom, a doctrine that says no member can do things like drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, or have coffee. The Word of Wisdom has the power to ban members from attending church should they go against its word.

Money & The LDS Church

LDS leaders have opposed the Proposition 2 ballot and say that it is not the solution they anticipated for medical marijuana in the state of Utah. In response to the church’s statements a website called MormonLeaks published financial information citing that the church holds nearly $1 billion in stock related to the pharmaceutical industry. The documents prove that the church’s interest in opposing medical marijuana is business related because the pharmaceutical and cannabis industries are not currently involved with one another.

“This has to do with our community and our children,” said Sister Lisa L. Harkness, First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency yesterday in an interview with Doug Fabrizio on Utah’s KUER Radio West. “We support the medicinal use of marijuana as long as it has the appropriate safeguards. Proposition 2 goes well beyond those appropriate safeguards,” said Elder Jack N. Gerard, General Authority Seventy in the same interview. The church would not oppose medical marijuana that has been administered by a doctor and sold in a pharmacy. No medical doctor can currently prescribe marijuana and pharmacies do not carry the product according to FDA standards.

Recreational Use

The church reports that recreational marijuana is a no-go because of their doctrine. Elder Craig C. Christensen provided a clear statement on how the church feels about recreational marijuana in the Radio West interview. He compares marijuana to things like caffeine, alcohol and tobacco in the LDS Church Word of Wisdom doctrine, therefore banning it to their members. “It would be analogous to tobacco or other, in essence, harmful, addictive substances,” he said. This is the first time the LDS church has clarified where recreational marijuana sits in relation to the doctrine. To listen to the full interview, check out the Radio West website here. For more information about Proposition 2, which is on the ballot in Utah this November, here are all of the details in full.

Julia Sachs is a staff writer at Grit Daily. She covers tech, entrepreneurship and entertainment news and is based in Park City, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in English and is extremely in-tune with what the internet is talking about today.