In what’s rumored as a response to the Sen. Mark Madsen-sponsored S.B. 73 (Medical Cannabis Act), which was approved Friday by a Senate committee, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced it was redacting a single verse from the Doctrine and Covenants:
“And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man.” — D&C 89:10
The former verse, usually overlooked in the Word of Wisdom, was cited by many advocates of the bill in general and the plant in particular.
75-year-old Roy resident, Alice Rindisbacher, found a measure of justification in this crucial verse, borrowing a heady nugg here and there from her “wayward” grandson, who was more than happy to bestow his grandma with an herb to treat her glaucoma. “I know my Relief Society sisters would be shocked to hear it, but after I tried it as a last ditch effort I really came to believe God placed this herb on the planet for our benefit, at least for those who need it for certain things,” Rindisbacher said. “I know my grandson shouldn’t be smoking it, but that’s between him and the Lord. With this new change, though, I guess the Lord wants me to go back to having blurred vision.”
The church has been silent as to the reasoning behind the verse’s removal–it’s unsure yet whether the reason for the redacted verse was put into a book of policies, then defended by a junior apostle, followed by a letter denying any ill-motive. We presume we’ll wait a few months for Pres. Nelson to explain it was indeed a revelation. As to the bill, the church has only offered a vague concern about supposed “unintended consequences” that could come with the use of medical cannabis. Church officials aren’t just telling its members not to use medical marijuana; they desire to block everyone–Mormon or not–in Utah from having access to the medicine.
Sen. Madsen faces an uphill battle against The Word Of The LORD to make Utah the 24th state to legalize the naturally occurring plant; Sen. Madsen touts the proven benefits of medical marijuana as a safer, more effective (with fewer side-effects), viable alternative to addictive and often deadly prescription pain medications. The Utah Department of Health reported that in 2014, 288 Utahns died after overdosing on prescription pain medications.
There is a second medical marijuana bill, S.B. 89 (providing a D&C 89-sized wink to legislators)–a veritable poison pill bill advocated by Sen. Vickers, Rep. Daw and the Utah Eagle Forum that the church supports. This second bill is a caffeine-free version, offering CBD oil-only for those with certain epileptic conditions. Since this bill does not allow extracts of the psychoactive chemical THC, some estimate it will only help approximately 500 people in the state. Madsen’s bill allows the full plant for medicinal purposes–estimates are such that more than 1o0,000 patients would benefit from the medicine since it would cover patients suffering from ALS, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, chronic pain, etc.
“Maybe they don’t want to be known as the special interest who put their thumb on the scale and decided this for everyone in the state,” Sen. Madsen said of the LDS Church, of which he is a faithful member. “If they’re going to put their thumb on the scale politically and force everyone to a standard, then I think they owe something of an explanation to the people.”
It seems that in order for the church to save face, they must choose the right by choosing the reefer.