Advocates plan to unseat Utah lawmakers opposed to medical marijuana

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Frustrated over the failure of the whole-plant medical marijuana bill, advocates have pledged not only to bring the fight to voters with a ballot initiative, but also to target the jobs of legislators who blocked the bill.

“Patients are going to go after seats.  We’re going to go after those votes,” said Christine Stenquist, the President and Co-Founder of TRUCE (Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education).

Stenquist said the group’s plan to bring forward a ballot initiative in 2016 will not happen -- it’s too late to meet the requirements for this year. Instead, she says part of the money will go to form a political action committee, targeting seats in the Capitol held by people blocking medical marijuana.

“So effectively, three strikes you’re out.  We have tried legislatively and they won’t listen,” Stenquist said.

At her side on the Capitol steps after Senate Bill 73 was shot down was Amanda Ellis-Graham, a medical marijuana user for the past two and a half years.

“I was in a wheelchair for about four to five years.  Housebound in a wheelchair,” said Ellis-Graham, who has battled MS for 18 years.

She buys marijuana illegally in Utah.  Ellis-Graham said it’s the reason she is walking again today.

“It’s very sad to think that I might have to leave my own state where I grew up, where my family is, so I’m not a criminal,” Ellis-Graham said.

Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, is one of eight who voted SB 73 down in committee. He said he understands the frustration, but believes advocates are picking the wrong fight.

“Our hands are tied on the federal level and they are working on the wrong level.  The fight is on the federal level,” Ray said.

Twenty-three states have legalized medical marijuana. The Obama administration has held back from enforcing federal drug laws in those states.

Ray said that could change after the next presidential election and pulling back marijuana after it’s been approved would be harder on everyone.

On being the target of a new political action committee looking to unseat voices opposed to medical marijuana, Ray said, “'I’m in the hot seat every election process so it’s just, you know, it’s another group that’s involved.”

151 comments

  • dustmagnet

    So instead opioid pain relievers – like Vicodin and OxyContin will continue to be prescribed at ever increasing numbers – fools

  • dustmagnet

    what do you expect? Utah Republicans are merely protecting the pharmaceutical companies – “business” always takes precedence over “individuals” in this State. They don’t care about helping individual PEOPLE, it’s all about helping BUSINSSES- Better to get people physically addicted to opioids than let them use medical marijuana.

  • mormon lover

    Good for them, that’s how you get things done. The legislators work for US, not the other way around. If they refuse to serve the needs of the public and rather choose to serve big pharma/their own nonsensical religious beliefs, they need to go. It won’t be long and being a mormon in Utah will all but disqualify you from work in public office, and that’s how it should be. Keep religion and corporate dollars our of politics and the citizens will be much better served.

  • Dennis lemons

    If the government wants to make a plant illegal, how about poison ivy? Marijuanas only bad side effect is the justice system. If it helps sick people feel better let them use it. Not one person has ever died from marijuana. Alcohol kills a bunch and so does tobacco. Wake up! Quit letting the Mormon cult influence every law. Separation of church and state doesn’t exist in UTAH. Which is really annoying for those of us who can think for themselves.

  • steve ballard

    there is no such thing as separation of church and state in the state of UTAH!!! once again our politicians put there religious Mormon views over the people. Sad that if they had a family member that was in diyer need and this plant would help that’s when they would care. the Mormon church needs to stay out of state and federal politics. Separation of church and state what don’t you Mormons get. keep you bible at home and think of those that are suffering

    • Regina

      The legislators in temple square pull the strings and the puppets dance. Ill bet the general authorities all enjoy Oxycontin for their old age symptoms. Try and take that away and see what happens! Lawmakers in Utah are LDS. Does anybody really think they would go against the Mega LDS corporation.

    • Anna Cord

      The Mormons don’t follow the bible they follow the book of mormon. I have yet to meat one mormon who even reads and follows their bible. If the book of mormon and the bible contradict each other they always go by what the book of mormon teaches. Have you ever had a mormon missionary visit your house. They haven’t got a clue what the bible teaches. This is a true story.

      • Trenton Spears

        Anna Cord again you don’t know the true facts of the Mormon Church first thing is that we believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God we believe also that the King James Bible is the word of God.When we seek answers we read both Bibles because in reality in the Mormon there is no conflict .We have a plan to read both Bibles and this year we will study the Book of Mormon for the whole year in combination with the others Bible. We study the Old Testament one year and the New Testament another year another year it will be the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. All these studies are coordinated to give one a way to seek and find answers. A missionary has been well prepared and certainly knows the King James Bible. Anna if truth is what you seek attend a Mormon Church find out for yourself. Quit listening to the anti’s because they follow the path of opposition that they know little about with no desire to find true answers. Anna there are many good things that the Mormon Church takes part in will you research the world wide rescue efforts on disasters and calamities that the Mormon Church is involved in. Every month on my tithing envelope I add and contribute to the Humanitarian Aid for this great cause. Why because Mormons seek and find the good in the world. We have no time no desire nor the time to attack other Churches it is a waste of our time. Anna what we believe in will not interfere with other churches if it does then the Church that they believe has a responsibility to teach their truths and convince them that judgement is a serious transgression that Jesus Christ alone has the authority to administer. We claim with all sincerity that Jesus Christ is the head of our Church and there is no way we can deny it nor the desire to do it Jesus Christ is mentioned over 35,000 times in the book of Mormon. People of any faith must find out for themselves the gospel truths. Sincerely, Trenton

  • listenup

    Utah politics and don’t tread on me advocates are always the first to tell someone else what they can or cannot do. Time to stand up to these groups.

  • Trenton Spears

    Sensible Advocate here is some truth about Gods creating marijuana it was originally named hemp and was primarily used to make ropes. Someone found out that smoking this plant it produce a temporary high thus the birth of marijuana was created. Over the years the need for a higher high was develop by people to chemically change the original makeup of this hemp plant for increasing the price for this drug. It is and always will be the lust for money that drives the marijuana use. Colorado bragged about the increase in tax money the State would receive by legalizing this dangerous drug. The facts are that in years to come more tax revenue will be needed for drug rehabilitation and welfare and health cost. Trenton Spears

    • Mother Plant

      Lol why continue to speak on something you obviously have never tried nor have the slightest clue of what you’re even talking about … or do you actually believe the fictional based conjecture you spout

      • Trenton Spears

        MOTHER PLANT I have never tried jumping off a cliff either but I know what happens when you do so your analogy is mute and without merit. My statements on the history of the hemp plant are true . God creates things man changes things to suit thier selves. Trenton

      • Hurting

        Trenton try it you would most likely enjoy it and I am talking about doing either one haven’t you seen cliff diving they are both a real experience

      • Trenton Spears

        Hurting Someone trying something that they know might harm them is a lack of intelligence. Your comments about trying marijuana is childish. You have no real knowledge about the LDS Church If you want to leave the Church one must do is write a letter to remove your name from the records it will ensure your privacy and no longer be contacted from the Church. Please research your information before posting a blog instead of bashing the LDS Church. Trenton

    • Spencer Reid

      This is not a Dangerous Drug, Actually it was in Use all over this country long before the White man came and took over. It was used by the Natives during Peace pipe Ceremonies. I would rather use Marijuana to help manage my Chronic pain, from Degenerative Disk disease in my neck and Back, then have to live on Pain pills for the rest of my life. Your Close minded approach and comments is all the proof we need that you lack the insight to be a productive part of this conversation

    • TRENTON SPEARS

      I know its wrong for me to come on this site an force the Mormon church down every bodies throat, but Im so self righteous I cant help it. Thats what us Mormon do. Dictate, judge and call all to repentance. Unless your just like me, you have the Satan in side you!!

      • Trenton Spears

        Who ever posted this comment is a fraud and deserves condemnation and severe censorship from Fox News 13 they are moral cowards and they do not have the courage to leave their own reply. This post is bogus and not part of my comment or thoughts . Trenton Spears

      • Non LDS

        You are the devil satin why force something people don’t want haven’t you heard of free will if you belong to the church you have to pay show me another church that takes a percentage of your income or business

    • TRENTON SPEARS

      Dont forget Joseph Smith had over 34 wives. Some as young as 14. 11 were already married to other men. Do you think he could have had all those wives with a low testosterone level from pot? Plus he couldn’t goto heaven if he broke the word of wisdom. What a man he was!!

  • James Young

    I was born and raised Utah-Mormon. Went on a mission, married in the Temple, etc. When mental illness nearly took my life after many failed attempts by Doctors to help stabalize me, I turned to Marijuana. Its now been twenty years and Marijuana is still the only thing that controls a handfull of mental/physical problems that would otherwise have lead to my death. So when you have countless LDS family and friends that have come to terms with the fact that Marijuana saved my life while Religion, Goverment, and the Health Industry would have left me for dead, countless times over.

    • Hurting

      Not all Mormons are unintelligent as I see you are of the few that believe in new ways to treat medical conditions other than potentially and known harmful meds at high costs both physical and monetary are being sought by what has been in front of people for many years have you ever taken too much cannibis and get hospitalised

  • J Snow

    Remember folks we are talking about something scientifically proven to be over 114 times SAFER than perfectly LEGAL ALCOHOL – why aren’t these same nanny stater’s up in arms over alcohol …

  • Abbie

    Sooner or later this bill will eventually pass. It would just be nice if it would be sooner than later. And if anyone can tell me a great way to help with small fiber neuropathy I would be more than happy to hear your comments. Everyone who uses opioid pain relievers is not an addict. But you can’t control anything. So for those people who would benefit from medical marijuana–wouldn’t it be nice for them to have a chance of improving their lives. After going through every test in the book, I can tell you and my neurologist and physician can tell you that there are many things they don’t understand about the brain and nervous system. I am glad they are honest with me and are not climbing on their ivory towers telling me exactly what should or should not happen. And wouldn’t it be nice if people quit arguing and let us at least have a chance. But I am always open to suggestions. Anyone??

  • Joshua Shaun Dmuin

    I have Nastagmis, scholiodis in my lower back, fibromyalgia and many more health problems….They.House of Representatives should help those in need also myself of this medical marijuana the bill needs to pass… I did a research paper in school there has never been a death not one! ” There is a lot of people who still do it. If it is natural and safe help these sick people, ,not only that the revenue of Utah would sky rocket helping the homlesd, poor And needy!! ,

      • Trenton Spears

        REGINA If you are waiting for this to happen you will be disappointed. Full time Missionaries cannot and will not teach the gospel of Jesus Christ on the internet. Return missionaries can it usually wakes up the anti’s so not a good choice for them. Better to go online to lds.org they are a source for information. Even better the next time missionaries contact you listen to them and find out for yourself. Trenton Spears

  • Regina

    ha there he is. So many people to judge and correct. And just one trenton spears. Trenton and mormons good. all others WRONG!! Its that simplw.

    • Trenton Spears

      REGINA I am sorry I brought out the worst in you that was not my intent. I would expect that you would be more respectful to people and not insult them because they have a different views. RAGINA I hope that you can debate me with your best shot not your worst shot be truthful and honest. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

    • Trenton Spears

      Mitt false Romney who ever you are. I say will say one thing to you bloggers Fox News 13 does a great service for us bloggers. I am sure they expect open and honest comments. In order to respond to me some bloggers create fraudulent comments using others names mainly mine to destroy the messenger. Is this what supporters of medical marijuana need to engage in, is this maturity, is this a the best you can do. I can say what I have commented in this tread has brought out the worst in people and that is not my goal nor should it be theirs. I am 78 years old and seen many lives destroyed from the gateway drug marijuana. I know people need to have safe drugs for pain and healing but marijuana should not be one of them. My thoughts are that this drug will destroy the lives of families. Are we trading medical marijuana to reduce pain that people go through and transfer another pain to families that will go through when their children get started on a gateway drug like marijuana I believe that families come first. I believe we are rushing into unknown territory and ignoring the past that medical marijuana is the gateway to recreational marijuana a proven fact. Look at the States that passed Medical Marijuana they followed up with recreational legalization of this dangerous drug. God help us. Sincerley, Trenton Spears

      • Non LDS

        CHANGE IS WHAT PEOPLE DO. CHANGE YOUR WAY you do not have to smoke it just keep man made pills (chemicals that doctors experiment with your body to see if it works).

      • Trenton Spears

        NON LDS I remember a statement of change from a person 7 years ago non other than Barack Hussein Obama how has his change worked out for America. Change is not always good. Trenton Spears

      • Trenton Spears

        NON LDS Why can’t Legislators decide on any bills that come their way without being called names and threats to remove them. There is always the other side of the story. The voting booth is the only way to solve an issue and people do not need to turn ugly and lie. There is a few comments about me forcing people to except my thoughts not so. When it comes to legislators doing their job some bloggers want to force them out because they cannot except their decision. NON LDS this thread has been a real wake up for me I have seen the LDS Church being blamed for political decisions that the Church had nothing to do with. Utah now is less than 50% LDS. This blog has been turned in to an attack format instead of a honest debate format. I respect you for declaring that you are non LDS that is your choice could you respect me for being LDS that is my choice ? Sincerely, Trenton Spears

      • Non LDS

        My choice would be cannibis not opiods but legislation says I cannot have my choice of meds that other people would choose also I do not condone any one who makes thier own choice just let people decide for themselves if they want cannibis or not

      • Trenton Spears

        NON LDS it is nice that we can exchange comments on a mature level makes me proud to be an American. The problem with individual choice is that we are a nation of laws and choices must be made within the boundaries of the law. If I had a choice I would not pay income tax’s knowing the money would be wasted but that is wishful thinking I know I must pay or break the law which has consequences. The Utah Legislators did what they are paid to do make law. This was a hard decision for them to make and I would not be in their place for anything. I hope that a pharmaceutical company will develop a medicine that would be equal to marijuana with no side effects. Sincerely, Trenton Spears

  • Trenton Spears

    NON LDS One of the great attributes of the missionary efforts of the Church of Jesus of Latter -Day Saints is the freedom to choose. We teach it we embrace it we worship it.If you are referring to money that we pay to the Church it is called tithing based on the Old Testament MALACHI Chapter 3 verses 8,9,10 read it if you can.This is what the LDS Churches believe this is how we support God and His Kingdom. No one in the Church is forced to pay anything most pay because they have faith and trust in the most honest Church in the world. I know a few members in the Church who don’t tithe and remain members of the Church. No one is forced to pay anything to the Church. NON LDS do you want more truths or do you want to keep spreading lies your choice and mandated by Satan himself the author of all lies. Trenton Spears

    • Moderator

      Sorry folks Trenton Spears has taken over this page. Is better if you dont comment. Please dont give him a reason to post. Ill see if I can reach his mother.

      • Trenton Spears

        Moderator This blog started with whether Medical Marijuana should be legalized or not. Some bloggers chose to bring the Church of Jesus Christ into the conversations and blame the Church for the legislatures not passing the Marijuana bill into law. When lies were introduced about the LDS Church’s performances and functions I commented on the lies and that the lies were not true. I did not start this thread on the LDS Church some radical bloggers did.They even made up false comments and used my name as if I posted the false comments. I believe that they did a dis-service to honest debate. I feel sorry for the honest supporters of medical marijuana that were embarrassed by a few ugly commentator’s. As to the statement that I have taken over this thread I am simply using my First Amendment Constitutional rights. Moderator Fox 13 News is the caretaker of this blog and not you. As far as my Mother if you want to speak to her good luck she resides in Heaven where there is no evil threads. Moderator I find your comment about my Mother most disrespectful and a statement of dishonor to her memory. Sincerely Trenton Spears

  • Razor

    What is this ‘Sunday School?” Please stop forcing your religion on every one. There are LDS sites where you can preach and preach!!

    • Trenton Spears

      Razor I did not start this conversation on the LDS Church a few bloggers did. They chose to place blame on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the Utah Legislators not passing the Medical Marijuana bill and some proceeded to bash and blame the LDS Church. Razor you are right about this becoming a Sunday School conversation it should not have become an issue. Having said that I believe it is better to be a defender that an attacker. No more to be said. As far as I am concerned this issue is over I hope the anti LDS bloggers feel the same way. Razor thank you for your comments. God Bless, Trenton Spears

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