Yesterday, April 11th, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement cautioning voters about the anti-liberty Utah Medical Cannabis Act.
Introduction by Enoch Moore:
LDS members have been split, where some feel it's an obvious danger, while others feel it's pro liberty. But as with many things that happen on Utah's Capitol Hill, there is actually a different reality to this picture when you pull back the curtain of the media (including alternative media).
Defending Utah is not advocating a position on cannabis itself in this article. We are simply seeking to bring a more full perspective into the conversation and to expose some of the dangers of what the ballot initiative is doing to Utah. If you are not LDS, you'll still find this article useful when we get into what the actual law is going to do.
It's important to understand the various LDS perspectives on this issue, before diving in to the proposed law.
1. Many LDS hold to the position that according to word of wisdom, we take no harmful things into our bodies, and advocating others to do the same is equally wrong, and that's all there is to it. The principle here is that, good men and women who want to act with integrity desire to stand for what's right no matter what. Generically speaking, I hope we all agree with this principle. We should always stand for what's right (Do what is right, let the consequence follow). But before standing for what's right, it's always wise to seek education on an issue and also personal revelation, as President Nelson taught this last conference. Today's many voices can confuse us as to what is right and what is wrong. More often than not in today's world, the truth never comes from media, whether it's on the "left" or "right" of today's superficial "divide and conquer" political spectrum. The truth is quite often something completely different.
2. Many other LDS hold to the position that cannabis is similar to tobacco. Where the word of wisdom says tobacco can be used with judgment and skill for medical purposes, but should never be taken into the body. D&C 89:8 says,
And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.
Therefore many believe cannabis oil, used with "judgment and skill" (by someone who has studied and learned proper uses), has proper medical purposes, but is dangerous for other purposes. The principle here is that all things have their purpose, and all things can be either used properly or abused to our detriment.
3. And still other LDS have looked to history, and are aware of early uses of hemp by the Pioneers themselves. Brigham Young taught many things related to agriculture and industry, and knew that certain key crops would be invaluable for building Zion as a powerful nation that could stand on its own two feet against the world.
On April 7th, 1861, Brigham Young taught the saints in an early general conference:
"Seek out the places most suitable for flax and hemp and there let them be grown." - JOD 9:34
In reference to this, On October 8th, 1862, George A. Smith said,
"I hope that all that has been said by the brethren in reference to the culture of hemp.... and in fact all that will tend to build up Zion will be attended to." - JOD 6:122
Again, the principle here is that all things have their purpose, and all things can be either used properly or abused.
(Brigham Young also taught specifically about Yarrow, Comfrey, Cayenne, and Chaparral)
4. Lastly, many Utahns in general, not just LDS, also hold the view that the war on drugs is a failure, and even fraudulent. And simply wish to see government corruption lose one place where it can operate. (This initiative actually creates a Utah government sanctioned monopoly on cannabis)
No matter someone's position on the issue of cannabis, after studying the issue more closely, anyone interested in greater liberty for Utahns can see there are serious items we need to be wary of about the proposed ballot initiative.
Article by Jarom Barlow
Is the "medical” marijuana initiative a step towards liberty or a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
The ballot initiative campaign put on by the Utah Patients Coalition for the 2018 election to make medical marijuana legal is completely bogus. It is being passed off as an advance in the liberty movement, but, at its very core, it is anything but that. If you, like I have already done, read and study the text of the initiative, you will find several elements that are so contrary to the principles of liberty that you might begin to wonder how in the world such ideas made it there in the first place. Nevertheless, they are in there and now I can’t support the passage of this initiative. In this report, I am going to compare this initiative with the principles of the proper role of government and the principles outlined in the United States Constitution to show you how this “liberty movement” is really not helping the cause of freedom in Utah.
Democracy = Mob Rule
Before we get into the actual language of the initiative, let’s look at what an initiative is and how even the concept itself is unconstitutional. Utah Code defines an initiative as “a new law proposed for adoption by the public.” In practice, the initiative process is where the public can legislate and make laws. According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, a democracy is “a form of government, in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of the people collectively, or in which the people exercise the powers of legislation.” Therefore, the initiative process is democracy in action.
James Madison even believed that this kind of government was incapable of protecting property rights and personal security.
"Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."
- Federalist No. 10
John Adams, on at least two separate occasions, wrote about how awful democracy is and the results that come from it.
"Democracy, will soon degenerate into an Anarchy, such an Anarchy that every Man will do what is right in his own Eyes, and no Man’s life or Property or Reputation or Liberty will be secure..."
- An Essay on Man’s Lust for Power
Now that we have that established, let's get into the actual language of the initiative and learn about all the problems that are in there (it can be found by clicking here). Note that this is not a full list of the threats to liberty contained in this bill.
I will focus on a couple of main points I want to make, and one of those main problems I have with the initiative is the licensing that is required.
"A person may not operate a cannabis production establishment without a license issued by the department under this chapter."
- Section 4-41b-201, Subsection 1
You are not allowed to operate a business that grows, sells, processes, or tests marijuana without a license that is given to you by the Department of Health. However, in order to qualify for a license, you must meet several different qualifications. One of these qualifications is to provide:
“Financial statements demonstrating that the person possesses a minimum of $500,000in liquid assets available for each cannabis cultivation facility for which the person applies or a minimum of $100,000 in liquid assets available for each cannabis processing facility or independent cannabis testing laboratory for which the person applies;”
- Section 4-41b-201, Subsection 2d
Additionally, only 15 people throughout the state are allowed to have a license (Section4-41b-204). How's that for freedom?
Free Speech Restrictions
“A cannabis production establishment may not advertise to the general public in any medium.”
- Section 4-41b-403, Section 1
Not only are the businesses that produce marijuana not allowed to advertise, but the only way for doctors to advertise that they are legally eligible to recommend marijuana is on their website and the only way for cannabis dispensaries (the place you would buy marijuana from) to advertise is on their website and a sign outside their door (Section 26-60b-107, Section 5 & Section 26-60b-504).
The importance of free speech is so obvious that an explanation for its preservation is not needed right here. We all know that the first amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits Congress from making laws that prohibit the free exercise of speech. However, Article 1, Section 15 of the Utah State Constitution also says, “No law shall be passed to abridge or restrain the freedom of speech.” So, not only are these provisions in the initiative against the principles of the United States Constitution, but they are ILLEGAL under the Utah State Constitution too!
Founding Father James Madison wrote:
“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
- James Madison, Federalist No. 47
It is a basic understanding of our form of government that there are 3 different branches with 3 different duties. The legislative branch is to legislate. The executive branch is to execute the laws. The judicial branch is to sentence those who have broken the law. According to James Madison, the father of the Constitution, when these three powers are combined into one branch, man, or arm, tyranny has been reached. Would a medical marijuana initiative advocate for tyranny?
“The department may establish compatibility standards for an inventory control system by rule...”
- Section 4-41b- 103, Subsection 7
“A cannabis production establishment agent shall comply with a certification standard developed by the department or with a third party certification standard designated by the department...”
- Section 4-41b-301, Subsection 6
“The department may establish... requirements for transporting cannabis, a cannabis product, or a medical cannabis device that are related to safety for human cannabis or cannabis product consumption.”
- Section 4-41b-404, Subsection 3
“The department shall adopt... human safety standards for manufacture of cannabis products...”
- Section 4-41b-603, Subsection 4
“The department may determine... the amount of [cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol, etc] that is safe for human consumption.”
- Section 4-41b-701
“If the department makes the determination [that a person has violated any rule made], the department shall: issue the person a written citation; attempt to negotiate a stipulated settlement; seize, embargo, or destroy the cannabis or cannabis product batch; and direct the person to appear before an adjudicative proceeding.”
“The department may, for a person subject to an uncontested citation, a stipulated settlement, or a finding of a violation in an adjudicative proceeding under this section: assess the person a fine... or order the person to cease and desist from the action that creates a violation.”
“If within 20 calendar days after the day on which a department serves a citation for a violation of this chapter, the person that is subject of the citation fails to request a hearing to contest the citation, the citation becomes the department's final order.”
“If the department makes a final determination under this section that an individual violated a provision of this chapter, the individual is guilty of an infraction.”
- Section 4-41b-801
James Madison's fear is in the text of the initiative. The Department of Health now has the power of all three branches of government. Not only do they get to make the rules, but they get to enforce them and decide whether or not they have been broken.
Both the US and Utah State Constitutions say, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” In short, the right to privacy is guaranteed by both constitutions. It just so happens that there are two separate violations of this right in the medical marijuana initiative.
The first one is an inventory control system. This system tracks, in real time, the inventory, handling, and processing of all cannabis products from the time the cannabis is “eight inches tall and has a root ball” until it is sold. It must be compatible with the electronic verification system, which I will discuss next. Every cannabis establishment must have it and without a warrant of any kind, the Department of Health must be allowed access to it during an inspection. (Section 4-41b-103)
The second violation of our fourth amendment rights has to do with the patient who buys the medical marijuana. The electronic verification system tracks the time and date of when you buy cannabis or a cannabis product, the quantity and type you buy, and where you buy it from. It can be accessed by the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture and Food and every time you get pulled over, the police will have access to it too.
This later point is important to consider with recent events in Hawaii and other states where their cannabis database is being used to confiscate guns of law abiding people, simply because they are in the database. This image of Hawaii sending a letter informing a law abiding citizen that they were no longer “qualified” to own a gun due to being on their cannabis database.
The Utah Elite’s Further Hand in This Movement
Beyond the specific language of the legislation, legislators and state elites are setting the groundwork to be the few allowed to be a part of the state controlled medical cannabis industry. Buckshot co-founder, Jeremy Roberts, and Buckshot member and anti caucus state Senator Curt Bramble teamed up and are leading a cannabis payment processing company.
With all of the anti liberty issues involved in this legislation and political elites lining up to profit from its "legalization", this initiative is not what it appears to be on the surface.
If you signed to get this initiative on the ballot but would now like your name removed, you can print the form from the state website, fill out the required fields and then turn it in to your county clerk
- Sources referenced in links throughout the article