See below for an FAQ from Connor Boyack, Treasurer of the Utah Patients Coalition and longtime advocate for medical cannabis in Utah.
"With the Mormon Church opposing Prop 2, is it now dead?"
Not at all. When the Church opposed Senator Madsen's bill, polling before and after showed that conservative Mormon support actually increased—perhaps because some of this demographic had a negative reaction to the opposition and solidified their support.
We've "war-gamed" this scenario, folks. The Church has opposed this bill before (when Sen. Madsen ran it) and it didn't change public polling. We've done internal polling. Let's just say, we're confident that this still passes in November.
"I've heard that Prop 2 is really about recreational marijuana. Is this true?"
Not at all. What opponents like the Utah Eagle Forum are referring to is an "affirmative defense" in which a patient will have a legal opportunity, in court, to explain that they would qualify for a card in the future and thus avoid prosecution for medical cannabis.
But, contrary to Gayle Ruzicka's claims, patients can still get arrested and prosecuted. Law enforcement can still do their job and arrest anybody they want. Nobody can escape criminal consequences for merely "claiming" to a police officer that they're sick. It's rubbish to argue otherwise.
"Can children get access to medical cannabis under Prop 2? I'm worried about youth abusing this."
Children can get opiates and all sorts of drugs. And they do. Yes, they can also get medical cannabis under Prop 2. And that's a huge blessing for many of them who need it.
Look—kids who want to use marijuana are already doing so. It's on every school campus. And because of the controls and restrictions in Prop 2, it's not like any kid is going to be able to get access to a dispensary—not at all. But yes, for those who are sick and whose physicians think it will help more than conventional prescription drugs, why would we deny them that option?
"Why not do what the LDS Church called for?"
Because it's federally illegal.
The Church said they want medical cannabis to be prescribed by a doctor and sold through a licensed pharmacy. This is impossible.
It's important to understand that. The Church's call for an "appropriate solution" was contextualized by their stipulation that the impossible be done. That's a non-starter. All it would do is continue to criminalize patients for years, and potentially decades. No thanks.
"Can anybody grow their own cannabis under Prop 2?"
There's an "insurance provision" in the initiative to ensure regulators actually implement the law. In other states, the bureaucracy has dragged their feet for years and we didn't want that. So if they don't have dispensaries up and running more than two years later, then patients can grow a few plants in non-residential areas as long as they are grown in a secure space outside of public view. It's unlikely this ever happens, but it's there to add some pressure to regulators.
"Will smoking be allowed under Prop 2?"
No, there's a specific provision explicitly stating it is not legal to smoke.
"Why do patients need the whole flower? Isn't oil good enough?
THC is only activated (made potentially psychoactive) if it's heated. Some patients prefer to juice the flower to gain the benefits without any effect at all of getting high. It seems unreasonable to criminalize legitimate patients who prefer to take their medicine in a different form than some might feel comfortable with.
"CBD is already legal, why do we need Prop 2?"
Many people who had high hopes for CBD found that it didn't help at all, or nearly as well as an oil or product that had multiple cannabinoids, including THC. CBD helps a limited few, but the broader range of conditions are primarily helped through a range of cannabinoids to produce what's known as the "entourage effect" which is a unique feature of cannabis' apparent power to aid in many ways.
"The Utah Legislature has already passed some medical marijuana bills, why do we need Prop 2?"
Because what the legislature passed will likely never actually come to be. Approving a single state-run grow facility and dispensary is monopolistic behavior that will lead to high prices, especially because the costs are dispersed among such a small patient population: terminal patients who are already on their deathbed. It's also cruel to only provide freedom to those who are about to die. These legislative efforts are more of the same—indifference to the broader need and an attempt to look like they're doing something when they're not doing much.
"Is it true that anybody can easily get a medical cannabis card for, say, stubbing their toe or having a cough?"
Nope. There are a limited number of conditions, and physicians are restricted as well; those who can prescribe opioids can also provide recommendations for cannabis for those who suffer from one of the specific conditions. Prop 2 states that a doctor can only recommend cannabis "in the course of a physician-patient relationship after the physician has completed a full assessment of the patient’s condition and medical history."