Thursday, August 16, 2018

Suit Claims Utah Medical Marijuana Initiative Violates Mormons' Religious Freedom

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that yesterday a suit was filed in Utah state court seeking, on free exercise and free speech grounds, to remove Utah's medical marijuana initiative from the November ballot.  The suit, citing the U.S. Supreme Court's recent Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, challenges the provision (Sec. 26-60b-110) in the initiative (full text) that bars refusals to rent to a medical marijuana card holder. The complaint reads in part:
In the United States of America, members of all religions, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have a constitutional right to exercise their religious beliefs. This includes the right not to consort with, be around, or do business with people engaging in activities which their religion finds repugnant....
The State of Utah is attempting to compel the speech of Utah landowners by suppressing their ability to speak out against cannabis use and consumption by only renting to tenants who do not possess or consume cannabis," the complaint reads, “and who support their viewpoints in opposition against cannabis possession and consumption.
In the suit, plaintiff contends that his "religious beliefs include a strict adherence to a code of health which precludes the consumption and possession of mind-altering drugs, substances and chemicals, which includes cannabis and its various derivatives." Apparently this is based on interpretation of the Mormon Word of Wisdom health code.