A dangerous attempt to manipulate Utah voters on medical marijuana

Wednesday , April 11, 2018 - 4:30 AM1 comment


The Utah Medical Association opposes a medical cannabis ballot initiative.

As an advocacy group, it can take sides on any issue affecting its members.

But it cannot, in good conscience, attempt to influence public policy through the use of incomplete and inaccurate claims.

Cathy McKitrick, a reporter for the Standard-Examiner, fact-checked the medical association’s two-page statement on the Utah medical marijuana initiative and found that it contained pure rubbish — along with some truth, a few matters of opinion, and the gospel truth.

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That’s the rating scale McKitrick used to assess the accuracy of eight claims made by eight medical association.

Here’s how they break down:

1. “The Utah Initiative would allow possession of 4 times the amount of marijuana than most other ‘medical’ marijuana states.”

Pure rubbish.

2. “Anyone could avoid prosecution simply by saying (whether true or not) they have some illness that they are using marijuana to treat as an affirmative defense, regardless of whether or not there is any scientific basis for such treatment.”

A matter of opinion.

3. “The initiative language also allows marijuana use by anyone, even children, for whom there is no safe level of THC (the main active ingredient in most cannabis products) for their developing brains.”

Is the medical association correct?

“This claim starts with a falsehood (no, there won’t be a marijuana free-for-all) and ends with fact, so we’re rating it as SOME TRUTH,” McKitrick said.

4. “In fact, there are few real restrictions or liability for either possession, distribution or manufacture of cannabis products by anyone.”

Pure rubbish.

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5. “The Libertas Institute has stated, falsely, that Utah’s is the most restrictive initiative out there.”

A matter of opinion.

6. “People assume that physicians would have some idea of how to prescribe or recommend it safely, for which diagnoses, and understand the contraindications, drug interactions and dosing guidelines for a plant that is wildly diverse and inconsistent in active ingredients. None of this is the case with what is being proposed in the Utah Initiative. Physicians cannot prescribe it at all.”

A matter of opinion.

7. “The initiative also allows various non-physician practitioners to recommend marijuana for clients.”

Gospel truth.

8. “There are other legitimate cannabis-based medicines already available and being developed.”

McKitrick’s assessment? “This statement is true in a one-size-fits-all sense, so we’ll rate it as GOSPEL TRUTH,” she wrote.

Taken as a whole, the Utah Medical Association’s statement is badly flawed and misleading. Yet the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a statement Tuesday opposing the ballot initiative, said it appreciates the association’s “wise counsel” on the issue.

Any statement using factually inaccurate claims to mislead the public isn’t wise counsel, it’s a form of political manipulation. It’s an attempt to obscure the truth.

And that makes it dangerous.

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