By Dalton Rosario
Despite aversion and active backlash from the Mormon Church, Utah legislation has passed provisions for medicinal cannabis legalization in the popularly supported initiative, Proposition 2. After an overwhelmingly positive reception from Utahns, the state will now be able to issue medical cards that effectively decriminalize possession and cannabis use by registered patients.
Although furthering the progress of cannabis legalization nationwide, this story brings into question much controversy surrounding the role of church influence in state affairs. As a tenant of our constitution, there is a clear delineation between the separation of church and state. But in the case of medicinal cannabis regulation in Utah, the Mormon Church actively opposed measures enforcing the right for patients to seek out their preference for medical relief due to a conflict in their religious beliefs.
This misalignment resonates far deeper in the cultural psyche of our nation. We respect the traditions that our country was founded upon and doing so comes with embracing the seemingly drastic changes and policy reformations backed by popular demand. But when subcultures’ customs and beliefs impede national progress and innovation, we are in direct conflict with the industrious nature that our country built its strengths upon. Better to protect our reputable ingenuity than to cling to antiquated belief systems that pose a threat to governing state bodies and the very democracy they represent.