Drug Safe Utah defends radio ad opposing medical marijuana ballot initiative

SALT LAKE CITY -- The group responsible for a questionable radio ad against Utah's medical marijuana ballot initiative responded to criticism.

“We don’t know why the few stations that pulled them did so we just provide them with information why the ads are accurate,” said Jim Jardine with Drug Safe Utah.

The 60-second radio ad from Drug Safe Utah has received a lot of backlash, including unhappy proponents, complaints to the Lieutenant Governor’s office and  20-or-so stations that have now pulled the ad from airing.

"Utah voters are being asked to consider Proposition 2. What proponents claim is medical marijuana. Prop 2 is actually about recreational use, not medical,” the ad begins.

“The initiative is so loose that it really creates the environment of recreational marijuana,” Jardine said. “There’s none of the kinds of safeguards which one would normally expect from physicians.”

Director of the Utah Patients Coalition DJ Schanz responded, “This is the most highly regulated medical cannabis program in the country." He's one of the biggest proponents for Prop 2.

“We think that’s not only fictitious but an outright lie that it has anything to do with recreational,” Schanz said. “The dosages are regulated, the dispensaries are regulated, even the medical conditions are regulated.”

The ad continues, “Medicinal marijuana is already legal in Utah. Your doctor can prescribe it or you can buy it over the counter.”

Jardine defended this statement as true. But according to Schanz, it is a “complete lie. There’s not a doctor in the country that can prescribe cannabis. It’s a schedule 1 drug.”

Jardine argued, “You can buy CBD oil, which is medicinal marijuana, over the counter."

CBD is actually one of the nearly 400 compounds found in cannabis and it's legal in all 50 states.

“To isolate just the CBD component and say this is what medical marijuana is, or should be, I think is fool hearty and laughable at best,” Schanz said.

“Proposition 2 legalizes full plant marijuana and creates a new industry of grow houses and pot shop dispensaries selling edible marijuana with unregulated high levels of the dangerous drug THC,” the ad continues.

Jardine said based on Prop 2, “you can locate it (dispensaries) in any neighborhood.”

The patients coalition estimates there will only be ten viable dispensaries in the entire state.

“Try to find a place that’s 600 feet from a school, church or public location, it’s nearly impossible in Utah,” Schanz said.

Despite what the Utah Patients Coalition said, Drug Safe Utah stands by their ad.

“Do you think any portion of this would be fair to say is misleading?” asked a Fox 13 reporter.

“I really don’t think so. I think labeling Prop 2 as medical marijuana is misleading,” Jardine responded.

Schanz said it doesn't bode well for campaign and coalition members "to spew out these half-truths and lies."

A complaint regarding the ad has been filed with the Lieutenant Governor’s office. They said it is currently being reviewed.