Medical Marijuana and the LDS Church

Medical marjiuana.jpg

On Friday, February 5, 2016 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints opposed a bill in the Utah legislature brought forth by Senator Mark Madsen that would make Utah the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana. citing unintended consequences that could come with use of the drug.

And I am angry.

I grew up being taught that the LDS church was politically neutral. Every election season a letter is read over the pulpit in every Ward in the United States written by the First Presidency emphatically stating that the church keeps out of politics.

However, this past legislative session in Utah has proven that the church’s long-claimed stance of political neutrality is false. Most people outside the state don’t understand how one religion, no matter how prominent, can have such an effect on state policies. But it does. Most of the state legislators identify as LDS and as any LDS person will tell you, when the prophet speaks, you listen, and you do as you are told. Obedience above conscious.

The reason for opposing medical marijuana?

Unintended consequences.

You mean like people suffering from chronic, debilitating, and painful diseases getting relief?

You mean like people who do suffer those painful diseases not becoming addicted to the opioids their doctors prescribe because that’s all doctors can do legally?

You mean like people being high all the time on THC? NEWFLASH – these same people are high all the time. On opioids.

And because they are having to ever increase their opioid use with no legal proven alternative available, it is leading to some patients becoming addicted. Utah has an insanely high opioid usage rate as well as heroin rate. The Utah Department of Health has noted that Utah has an experienced a more than 400% increase in prescription drug use injuries and death in the last decade. An average of 21 Utahns die a month due to prescription drug overdoses. Utah ranks 8th highest in prescription drug overdose deaths in the United States.

Marijuana isn’t the drug you should be worried about, LDS church.

Heavy opioid use for chronic pain also leads to liver damage, digestive difficulties like not being able to keep food down and chronic, and bowel damaging, constipation.

I’m sure the LDS church leaders believe this is a moral issue, so I have to ask…

What’s so moral about letting people suffer?

No one has ever overdosed on Marijuana.

I could see if this were legalizing recreational marijuana use why the LDS church would be opposed to that and taking a strong stance against it.

But this is about medicinal use in oil form. Mormons love their medicinal oils. I’m sure if doTerra was pushing this, all the prominent MLM owning Mormons would jump at having it legalized.

Luckily Senator Madsen is not kowtowing to the incredible and inappropriate overreach of the LDS church into state politics. He has proposed 8 amendments to the law that he hopes will alleviate concerns to the Bill.

Anecdotally, when my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer in August 2007. She opted for chemotherapy treatments to extend her life and it was awful. She threw up constantly. She couldn’t keep any food down, thereby becoming dehydrated. She was in constant pain. Her doctor prescribed for her Marinol to help increase her appetite and deal with the nausea chemotherapy caused. Marinol is one of the cannabinoids.

I wish I could sit down with the leaders of the LDS church and describe to them what it was like to watch my mom suffer an absolute nightmarish hell during her last 3 months on this earth. I wish I could tell them what it was like to sit with her in her hospital room watching her writhe in pain, wake up and look at me with panic-stricken eyes that reminded me of a wounded animal, and beg me, BEG ME, her second daughter, someone she called “girl baby” and nursed at her breast until I was 15 months old, BEG ME to go find someone to kill her. Please tell me how you would feel to have your mother, a light and sunshine to everyone she knew, be suffering so much she begged you to find someone to take her life.

You know that scene in Terms of Endearment when Debra Winger is in the hospital dying of cancer and her mother, Shirley MacClaine, goes and screams at the nurses and demands they relieve the suffering of her dying daughter? Yeah, that was me.

Please tell where the dignity is in letting dying people suffer when oil from a plant…A PLANT that God planted in the ground.. can alleviate suffering? Why are those who aren’t suffering constantly asking others to do it when they have no idea the pain that is involved?

On another anecdotal note, I’m old enough now to have several friends who suffer from various chronic, painful diseases:  Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Anxiety, Erytohmelalgia (or Mitchell’s syndrome), and numerous other autoimmune disorders. THC has been proven to alleviate the pain and other symptoms that these debilitating and painful diseases cause. Prescribing people who are suffering ever-increasing amounts of opioids is unconscionable, and I would argue, ammoral.

So I’m begging the leaders of the LDS church to do the right thing. I was always taught growing up in church to do the right thing and let the consequences follow. I was taught to be honest in my dealings. I was taught to put the pain and suffering of others above my own comfort. Please LDS church, practice what you preach. Again I ask,

What’s so moral about letting people suffer?

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Book Review: Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man by Bill Clegg

Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man is a memoir written by Bill Clegg about his struggle with crack addiction. It is Clegg’s first novel and is a short, quick read and immediately engaging.

In flashbacks, Clegg chronicles his childhood struggles and his over-bearing father. He addresses his casual drug use in high school and college, which leads to a full-blown crack addiction in adulthood.

Clegg is a literary agent who lives in New York City. This memoir is about his last crack binge that cost him his savings, his relationship, his apartment, and his job. His family tries to stage an intervention and he runs away, eventually becoming so sick and so weak that he has no choice but to seek treatment.

I loved most of this book. It got repetitive after a while as Clegg checks in and out of endless hotels, smokes crack, drinks vodka, calls his dealers, becomes paranoid, and never eats. During his last crack binge he lost 40 pounds and marks his weight loss by how many more holes he has to put in his belt to hold his pants up. The last few chapters are very tedious, and yet it makes me wonder if that is a tool to show how tedious drug addiction can be.  The final chapter was amazingly brilliant.

This book perfectly illustrates to me just how much drug addiction makes you lose your soul, your values, and your sense of self-preservation. Nothing matters to Clegg except getting high. He doesn’t care what he loses, he only cares about gaining crack. I think this book would help anyone who is dealing with a loved one with an addiction issue and can’t understand how this person is willing to give up everything for the next high.

Book Review – Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Go Ask AliceGo Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I picked this book up because I had read that it was a modern classic.  How disappointing to find out it’s a complete work of fiction when the editor said it was edited from a real 15 year old girl’s diary.

Set in the late 60’s/early 70’s, this is a diary from a teenage girl who unwittingly gets mixed up in the drug scene of the time, when her soft drink is laced with LSD at a party.  After she experiences an amazing “trip” she seeks out more and more drugs.  Pretty soon she is losing her virginity and pushing drugs as a dealer, even selling to elementary school kids.  During the course of the book she runs away twice and cleans up her life numerous times.  Once when she runs away the drug world she gets involved in is so debased that she struggles through the rest of the diary trying to forget the horrible things she’s done.

Just when you think this unnamed girl’s life has begun to get better she eats some peanuts she didn’t know were laced in acid and she ends up on a bad trip thinking maggots and worms are crawling all over her so she beats herself and claws her skin to oblivion.  She ends up in the hospital, and more importantly the psyche ward.  The diary ends with her going back to her family, committed to lead a drug free life, and enjoying her birthday and new stable boyfriend.  The epilogue tells us that she died 3 weeks after ending the diary from a drug overdose.  I would be sad if I didn’t know this book was total hooey.

If this had been a real diary of a real girl (debunked on Snopes), it would have been engaging, horrifying, and tragic.  Instead it’s a failed attempt by the morality police at the time to “keep kids off drugs.”  I’ve known plenty of drug users in my time and no one has gone into this kind of a descent this quickly as the girl in the book. Yes, I’ve seen some people brought down to some substantial lows, but nothing like this and not this quick.  It made wonder what kind of counter-culture nonsense was going on at this time.  This isn’t what my parents told me about the ’60s!

I found this as annoying to read as I would my own journals from my teenagehood.  All the normal teenage angst and social dramas that I would rather forget, jam packed with drugs, prostitution, and teenage sex.  No thank you.  At least I know now where the colloquialism, “don’t take candy from strangers,” comes from.

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