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New Lawsuit Says Utah's Medical Marijuana Initiative Is a Free Speech Violation

Opponents claim forbidding landlords from discriminating against tenants for using medical marijuana is unconstitutional.

Utah's medical marijuana ballot initiative might be a First Amendment violation, claims a longtime marijuana opponent in a new lawsuit intended to remove the question from the state's November ballot.

On Thursday, Salt Lake City-area lawyer Walter J. Plumb III filed a lawsuit against Utah's Proposition 2, alleging that the measure—which would legalize medical marijuana for patients suffering from certain qualifying medical conditions as well as allow for the plant's cultivation and sale—would violate First Amendment guarantees to freedom of speech and free exercise of religion.

The sticking point for Plumb is a provision in Prop. 2 that would forbid landlords from discriminating against potential tenants solely because of their status as medical marijuana patients. This would force Plumb—a practicing Mormon and owner of a number of residential properties that he leases out—to associate with people and practices that run counter to his deeply held beliefs, something his lawsuit says is a violation of his religious liberties. The suit also claims that being forced to rent to medical marijuana patients amounts to "compelled speech."

"Members of all religions, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have constitutional rights to exercise their religious beliefs. This includes the right not to consort with, be around, or do business with people engaging in activities which their religion finds repugnant," the suit reads. "Any practicing member of the LDS faith would find this mandate deeply offensive and incredibly repulsive to their religious beliefs and their way of life."

Thursday's lawsuit against Prop. 2 is the second one for Plumb, who has a long history of anti-marijuana activism.

In the late 1990's, Plumb—a one-time law partner of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R–Utah)—mailed out an unsolicited, 60-page pamphlet to some 7,000 Salt Lake residents, warning of the dangers of cannabis consumption.

"I think it's the best work on marijuana that's ever been out. I think this is specific and gives parents help and direction," Plumb told the Deseret News in 1998. He was speaking of his own pamphlet, which included a glossary of marijuana-related terms, as well as notes on which of these terms were used exclusively by blacks and Hispanics.

Whatever the quality of that work, Plumb's lawsuit is unlikely to go anywhere, says Connor Boyack of Utah's Libertas Institute, a libertarian think tank and one of the organizations advocating for a 'yes' vote on Prop. 2.

In addition to the First Amendment claims in Thursday's suit, which he describes as "a huge stretch," Boyack says the lawsuit lacks "ripeness"—a requirement that litigation not be based on hypothetical future harms.

"Even if their claim were to have merit in the eyes of a judge, they can't do anything until after the initiative passes into law," Boyack says.

An opponent of anti-discrimination laws on property rights grounds, Boyack nevertheless says that the religious claims in Plumb's lawsuit also miss the mark. "The contention in the lawsuit that our religion considers medical marijuana users to be repugnant is not only false, it's abjectly stupid. It has no basis in truth," says Boyack, himself a practicing Mormon, who notes that the church's health code is silent on the use of marijuana as a medicine, although it does include prohibitions on "illegal drugs," as well as perfectly legal substances like coffee and alcohol.

Boyack says Thursday's lawsuit is the latest in a bag of dirty tricks used by marijuana opponents to keep the popular Prop. 2 measure away from voters.

Back in May, after Prop. 2 supporters had collected enough signatures to put their initiative up for a vote in November, a coalition of opponents—including the Utah Medical Association—paid canvassers $25 an hour trying to convince enough people to remove their names from the petition to get it booted off the ballot. That tactic failed, as did a previous lawsuit which was filed and then quickly retracted over the same ripeness issue.

Currently, Prop. 2 is polling at two-thirds support. Provided Plumb's lawsuit fails to get the initiative kicked off the ballot, it will likely coast to victory in November, making conservative Utah the 31st state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.

Photo Credit: Olga Volkovaia/Dreamstime.com

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  • Hamster of Doom||

    Your right to be free ends where my right to not have people doing things I don't like begins.

  • Just Say'n||

    That works for both sides of this debate

  • Hamster of Doom||

    That's what makes it funny.

  • Just Say'n||

    You know what else is funny?

    www.southpark.cc.com/clips/104.....ith-part-1

  • Just Say'n||

    With all due respect to Mormons

  • Hamster of Doom||

    I don't mean to leave you hanging here, I just can't think of a joke that doesn't involve making fun of religion or people with glasses. I suck.

    Turning it over to the group.

  • Giant Realistic Flying Tiger||

    Mormons also turn it over to the group. And by "it", I mean their penis, and by "the group", I mean their harems of wives.

    (Don't step on my joke by telling me Mormons haven't been polygamous since the 1880s.)

  • Just Say'n||

    "Prop. 2 that would forbid landlords from discriminating against potential tenants solely because of their status as medical marijuana patients."

    This provision makes the initiative sound like a garbage fire. But, let's hem and haw about a clear violation of property rights, because the people who oppose it are "icky".

    It's the beltway *libertarian* way!

  • FreeRadical||

    Yup! If you support freedom of association, you might get lumped in with the wrong kind of people.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Consistency helps in these situations. The Amish had that solid history of pacifism to point at when the US military made demands. People can respect having the courage of one's convictions (might think one is wrong or bonkers, but you know... *hits chest with fist* respect, yo).

    If they're renting to coffee and soda drinkers, doing business with smokers, and associating with divorcees and people who drink alcohol, it smacks of insincere opportunism.

    People will be assholes, there's no way around that. Certainly not via the law, lol. A correlary to we need to let assholes be assholes is that we also have to let people think being an asshole is icky.

  • Just Say'n||

    Hypocrites get the same legal protections as everyone else. But, I concede that the religious liberty argument here is profoundly weak. But, it definitely violates property rights, which unfortunately we as a society don't give a damn about

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Yeah. We're really bad at going from "Tch, assholes are icky" to thinking there's something we can DO about that without the cooperation of said assholes, ruining civilization itself for everyone thereby.

    Something something Nietszche, something something monsters.

  • ||

    If they're renting to coffee and soda drinkers, doing business with smokers, and associating with divorcees and people who drink alcohol, it smacks of insincere opportunism.

    ^ This.

  • FreeRadical||

    While true, it is irrelevant.

  • TuIpa||

    No it isn't, for exactly the reasons stated.

  • Just Say'n||

    No, because it still doesn't resolve the issue of property rights

  • TuIpa||

    That has already been resolved, and we lost.

  • FreeRadical||

    We're to the point where we don't even get a "to be sure". Sigh...

  • Hamster of Doom||

    I suspect these bad arguments are directly caused by taking away people's right to say no. We only get to say no if we can prove we have a "good reason". And of course "It's my property, that's why" isn't going to be a good reason to arbiters who deny us refusal in the first place.

    Ergo, bag arguments. In part because we aren't listening to the good arguments, and mostly because we asked the wrong question in the first damned place.

  • ||

    I suspect these bad arguments are directly caused by taking away people's right to say no. We only get to say no if we can prove we have a "good reason". And of course "It's my property, that's why" isn't going to be a good reason to arbiters who deny us refusal in the first place.

    ^ This.

    This isn't about "freedom of religion." It's about the right to not rent to potsmokers if you don't want to, even if you're an atheist or a cosmic-muffin worshiper.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Can you refuse to rent to smokers on account of smoking damaging your property with cigarette smoke? If so, it would seem a similar argument would work for weed. No reason to bring religion into it.

  • perlchpr||

    Can you refuse to rent to smokers on account of smoking damaging your property with cigarette smoke?

    It's generally considered acceptable to require tenants to smoke outside. I don't know that anyone has ever tried to refuse someone tenancy anywhere simply because they are a smoker, as opposed to for smoking inside. (I mean, OK, probably someone somewhere, but I don't think it's common.)

  • Muzzled Woodchipper||

    Which is a null point if one uses edibles or creams or vapes it instead of smokes it, yet presumably the dude is against its use, not its smell or potential damage from smell.

  • Qsl||

    How about not renting to firearm owners? Republicans? Jews? Country music enthusiast? Exactly how far do you want to take this?

    The general parlance is that if you are renting out your property, you have certain legal obligations while the renters responsibility solely consists of paying for rent and damages. You might even be able to get away with charging a $20,000 deposit for cost of cleaning and unrealized damages, but (as a hypothetical): supposing someone didn't own a firearm at the time, but after a robbery decided to get one, and then the landlord decided to evict; the case would (and should) be slapped down so hard it would make the earth shake.

    Property rights mostly applies to what you can do with the property, not lording over everyone else's actions. And as it is illegal to not rent to Mormons, quid pro quo demands they suck it up like everyone else until rights are applied equally across the board.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    >>>How about not renting to firearm owners? Republicans? Jews? Country music enthusiast? Exactly how far do you want to take this?

    I find it remarkable that people think this isn't already happening.

    Look, we are having this discussion purely because some people like to exclude Those People. We have laws against this already, and yet we keep having to revisit the subject because someone's come up with another reason to exclude Those People from something or other.

    We can't stop it. Hell, it'd be nice if we admitted it goes on, that'd be a sweet first step.

    People can be dicks. People can be tribal. Let's stop attempting to halt the tides, and learn to roll with them. Let the market handle it. Tylenol isn't $20 per pill when it's sold in a competitive market. Only anti-competitive markets ravaging a captured customer base by dint of government force get away with that. Like hospitals.

    Quit screwing with markets, and see how long people get away with that.

  • Qsl||

    Small difficulty being that gives property owners the implied right to interrogate as well to fully exercise those "rights", as well as compulsory spot checks or even video monitoring without disclosure. Again, how far do you want to take this property rights uber alles?

    Even the most ardent champions of markets agree some regulation is necessary. The discussion now is what should those regulations be (with hopefully an eye towards using as light of a hand as possible), and what are the effects and justifications.

    Simply throwing your hands up in the air and saying kill them all and let the market sort it out is actually inviting increased regulation as people purse their grievances through that other market: government.

    And in that arena, libertarians always lose.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Yes, yes. People can be dicks. Maybe I didn't say that already? My bad, let me say it now. Humans can be fucking pricks.

    >>Even the most ardent champions of markets agree some regulation is necessary.

    Go talk to one of those guys, then. Maybe tell them about regulatory capture while you're at it. I think we're on our own. No law will stop biggus prickus, and hasn't to date. Competition and walking away works.

    No one is going to save us except us. I'm sorry.

  • Qsl||

    Brilliant!

    So instead of libertarians having some say in what ever regulation is absolutely going to happen no matter what, they should advocate for a unicorn with their overwhelming numbers, and then bitch and moan about the outcome.

  • Cathy L||

    The people who oppose it are also full of shit. I mean, take the guy's actual claim:

    "Members of all religions, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have constitutional rights to exercise their religious beliefs. This includes the right not to consort with, be around, or do business with people engaging in activities which their religion finds repugnant,"

    There is no recognized right in the US "not to...be around...people engaging in activities which [one's] religion finds repugnant."

  • Just Say'n||

    Do you reject the right to property, though?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    No property right is absolute. There are restrictions on every property right. I am not saying I disagree with you. I am saying that argument is not enough.

  • Longtobefree||

    l bet his next paycheck that at least one of his tenants drinks coffee.

  • Just Say'n||

    Thankfully, for the coffee drinkers, there exists a protected class status for them

  • Hamster of Doom||

    There's a multiverse out there with actual coffee badges, and I bet that place is wild AF.

  • Dillinger||

    >>>deeply held beliefs

    golden plates say don't rent to the ill b/c their choice of treatment? fuck you.

  • Just Say'n||

    The religious liberty argument in this case is rather weak since the Mormon faith doesn't necessarily require this course of action in order to remain faithful to its principles. But, creating a new protected class status is rather ridiculous

  • FreeRadical||

    Well fuck you and your willingness to destroy other peoples' association rights because you hate Christians.

    Principles, do you have them?

  • perlchpr||

    Do you support the right of the landlord to kick the tenant out for using any other medication as well?

    If the guy said "I don't rent to cancer patients because I dislike chemo", would you support that?

  • Just Say'n||

    Do you have any evidence that any of that will even happen to someone who smokes medical marijuana?

  • ||

    Do you have any evidence that any of that will even happen to someone who smokes medical marijuana?

    The fact that these people are suing for the right to do exactly that?

  • perlchpr||

    I just wanna know if the guy is consistent.

    I mean, if pressed, as a full bore market anarchist, I'll throw the "CRA is BS!" Libertarian Macho Flash.

    I just think it's a jackassed thing to do to people, even if you have the legal right.

  • Just Say'n||

    "I just think it's a jackassed thing to do to people, even if you have the legal right."

    Yes. But that's up to one's own personal morality- not law

  • FreeRadical||

    Yes, I support the right of a landlord to not do business with anyone he chooses.

    That has to be the starting point for any libertarian in my view. Then one must deal with compromises and losses.

    And your example of "poor chemo patient" is just like Lenore Skenazy's "worst-first" thinking on child safety. Yes, sometimes bad things happen, like in this case. But those events will be rare and don't justify trampling liberty.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    What about a town where three landlords own all the rentable dwellings, and they all decide together not to rent to black people? Would you support their right to do so?

  • Just Say'n||

    I'm more willing to balance a complaint brought by an African American or a Native American against property rights than I am other "protected classes" only because historically they have been discriminated against by government authorities in ways unique to them.

    But, I would still tend toward avoiding a broad "protected class status" across multiple jurisdictions. The biggest problem with this case is that I highly doubt it will be a big enough concern to warrant a legislative response. And all we are really doing is creating a new "protected class".

    So the specifics of the hypothetical would be important

  • markm23||

    If the landlord is a Christian Scientist, can he ban tenants from using any medication at all on the premises?

  • TJJ2000||

    If the guy said "I don't rent to cancer patients because I dislike chemo", would you support that?

    We'll dismiss your assumption that any personal expression or belief of "support" ALL must be LAW driven by bureaucrats and dictators; of which is the first and most prominent mistake of modern society.

    Yes, a person who OWNS said item SHOULD have every right to say WHO gets to use it no matter the circumstance or reason. IT BELONGS TO THEM! Not some bureaucratic voting system - that is SOCIALISM / COMMUNISM.

  • TuIpa||

    Did you travel here from 1965? That ship has sailed.

  • Just Say'n||

    Fake libertarians for more protected class status!

  • TuIpa||

    I don't see that anywhere.

    What I do see is an honest acknowledgment of the world we live in.

    Also, there is no "more protected status" because this is an ADA violation already.

    Do I like any of that? No.

    But I'll suck a row of dirty bum dicks if it gets changed any time soon.

  • Just Say'n||

    You know what, the ADA argument is actually a pretty solid one. You made a better argument than the article.

    That's a fair point. But in that case then the protected class status isn't even necessary. It's just redundant, no?

  • TuIpa||

    Yes, it is.

  • FreeRadical||

    Since the government no longer protects a right, all libertarians must get on board! Not only that, but actively support the violation of that right.

    So, Tulpa, this doesn't even warrant a "to be sure" from you?

  • TuIpa||

    I don't see anywhere where I suggested any of what you claim I did, but keep kicking the shit out of that strawman.

  • Dillinger||

    i love everybody. my mom can likely eat gummies in her condo w/o offending Joseph Smith

  • Eddy||

    As I understand it, this initiative is something of an omnibus bill to be voted up or down by voters.

    The lawyer wants to call off the vote because he says part of the omnibus would, if enacted, be unconstitutional.

  • Eddy||

    Next up: Sue Congress to stop them from considering bills with unconstitutional provisions.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    You funny, funny man.

  • Horny Lizard||

    If I understand the way our system works a law has to first be enacted and a specific person has to suffer a harm before there's standing to make constitutional claim.

  • Just Say'n||

    "a law has to first be enacted and a specific person has to suffer a harm before there's standing to make constitutional claim."

    However, a law can be enacted without any actual harm having ever occurred or there ever even being a problem in order to demand a protected class status.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Say what you will about the Monopoly game having a banker, at least they didn't assign a player to manage the rules.

  • Horny Lizard||

    It takes some fucking nerve and moral depravity to wrap oneself up in a special status while fighting for the prerogative to discriminate against others for baseless reasons.

  • Just Say'n||

    Agreed. I got kicked out my apartment for owning a dog or at least I think I might get kicked out. I don't know yet, because my landlord really hasn't said anything. But, still, there is maybe a possibility that this might happen sometime at some point in the future, so I demand that a protected class status be issued for dog owners.

    I believe in smaller government*!

    *Sort of, kind of, but not really

  • FreeRadical||

    So you support the use of force to compel people to associate with each other?

  • TuIpa||

    Again, you seem to be completely unaware of the world you actually live in.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    You seem to be completely unaware of the site you are commenting on.

  • FreeRadical||

    Geez, Christian, do you even care about the freedom of association part of the 1st Amendment? Or is that right so thoroughly destroyed that it doesn't even merit a mention?

    Or does your devotion to legal Marijuana make you unable to defend the rights of others when they get in the way of your particular ends? Or is it an anti-Christian bias?

    I don't know. I am also devoted to full legalization. But I guess I'm principled enough to not force others to share my devotion.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It possible to write about motorcycles for a magazine and not actually be a motorcycle.

    Likewise, it's possible to write about libertarianism without actually being . . .

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Freedom of ... association, association ... wherefore art thou? Must be in the penumbras somewhere, I coulda sworn it's in here somewhere......

  • FreeRadical||

    The Supremes have long interpreted "peaceably to assemble" as a general right of association.

    Regardless, you're falling into the trap of, if it's not explicitly protected, then it's fair game to trample. No, the question to ask about unenumerated rights is whether the federal government has the power to regulate the thing in question.

    Just because we've lost these battles doesn't mean we shouldn't stand up for the principles of liberty.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Oh whoosh!

  • Cathy L||

    Geez, Christian, do you even care about the freedom of association part of the 1st Amendment? Or is that right so thoroughly destroyed that it doesn't even merit a mention?

    It is thoroughly destroyed. If it got mentioned, the most appropriate context would be a note that it's illegal for people to choose not to associate with Mormons, so fuck this guy.

  • Just Say'n||

    Again, you are confusing religious liberty with protected class status. You can't choose not to associate with Mormons due to their protected class status.

    Religious liberty only protects the religious from government discrimination. Not private discrimination

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, I think it's important for people to remember that the First Amendment protects free speech and freedom of religion, but it doens't protect stupid religious beliefs or people saying stupid things. For goodness' sake, when the framers wrote the First Amendment, they had no idea that people someday might believe or say stupid things. Besides, they were white and racist.

  • GlenchristLaw||

    The Framers, who were mostly deists, thought almost all then-current religious beliefs were "stupid."

    See generally, "The Jefferson Bible" (e.g., "The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus Himself are within the comprehension of a child.").

    Cf., Voltaire.

  • ||

    The Framers, who were mostly deists, thought almost all then-current religious beliefs were "stupid."

    And were themselves largely considered atheists due to the fact that they saw the word "God" as being synonymous with the phrase "the Laws of Nature."

  • Just Say'n||

    Not entirely true. Some Framers were religious, such as John Adams. Most were deists, which is true. But, they absolutely respected religious traditions and afforded them accommodations (the mere fact that the Constitution says you cannot be forced to swear an oath was specifically designed to accommodate Quakers). Also, Madison's first draft of the First Amendment expressly required "accommodations for conscience".

    Nonetheless, this issue is not about religious liberty, so much as it is about property rights.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I don't necessarily agree with you, "see Madison crediting Martin Luther with "showing us the way" regarding First Amendment religious liberty--which is ultimately a reflection of protestant theology:

    It is a pleasing and persuasive example of pious zeal, united with pure benevolence and of a cordial attachment to a particular creed, untinctured with sectarian illiberality. It illustrates the excellence of a system which, by a due distinction, to which the genius and courage of Luther led the way, between what is due to Caesar and what is due God, best promotes the discharge of both obligations. The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity.

    ----Jame Madison, Author of the First Amendment, 1821

    http://constitution.org/primar.....uther.html

    All that being said, in my post above, I was being facetious.

    Yes, of course, the First Amendment protects stupid speech and stupid religious beliefs.

  • Ken Shultz||

    This is a lot like the gay marriage thing for me.

    I supported gay marriage, but I had no idea people would use it as an excuse to violate our First Amendment rights. How embarrassing for me!

    I support the legalization of marijuana, but not at the unnecessary cost of violating anyone's First Amendment rights.

    There's a term for people who think that if you support gay marriage or marijuana legalization that it means you have to support every single bad argument in their favor, and that term is "fucking retarded".

  • Just Say'n||

    I think this is more along the lines of property rights. I don't think there is as clear of a prohibition within the Mormon faith that forbids them from renting a room to someone who smokes marijuana.

    But, it's rather insane how fast beltway libertarians come to embrace all protected class status now. Some might even say that they're......not libertarian by any stretch of the imagination

  • ||

    Some might even say that they're......not libertarian by any stretch of the imagination

    This is very much like the debate over marriage rights.

    Yes, the "doctrinaire Libertarian" position is that government shouldn't be involved in marriage, and there shouldn't be special privileges tied to being married.

    But the reality is that there are privileges that are being denied to certain classes of people arbitrarily.

    To say that a privilege should either be done away with or should be applied to everyone equally is not to be "not libertarian by any stretch of the imagination."

    Dogmatism is an ugly color on a libertarian.

  • Just Say'n||

    So freedom through expanded government? Why not expand protected class status for everyone then for everything? At which point there will be absolutely no property rights. And then we can repeal the long American tradition of religious accommodation and then everyone will just have to do as they're told.

  • ||

    So freedom through expanded government?

    Argue for the right to discriminate against anyone you want for any reason. Don't argue that certain classes of people should have special privileges and others shouldn't and call it "religious liberty," because you are picking and choosing whose religious views should get accommodated and whose shouldn't, and you're explicitly using state-sanctioning of particular religions over others as your definition of what does and doesn't "count" as a religion.

    So, on that that theme, it isn't helpful to call people No True Libertarian because they have a different notion of how to pragmatically apply the NAP than you. - to some people what you are arguing isn't particularly "libertarian."

  • Ken Shultz||

    The idea that gay marriage can only come at the cost of other people's First Amendment rights is a false dichotomy. If you can't write gay marriage legislation or implement gay marriage without violating someone's First Amendment rights to freedom of religion, then you need to go back and try again.

    Violating anyone's First Amendment religious rights in the name of gay marriage is for all intents and purposes indefensible from a libertarian perspective.

    P.S. And supporting what people like to do with their penises isn't any more intellectual than supporting people's religious rights.

  • Happy Chandler||

    Generally applicable laws do not violate the first amendment. Non-discrimination laws don't treat any religion different.

    Granting special rights to discriminate is a violation of the first amendment.

  • Just Say'n||

    You must not be familiar with the fact that the CRAs contain a religious exemption. The US has long had a tradition of providing religious accommodation dating back to the founders.

    But, in this case, the religious liberty argument is lacking. This is more a matter of property rights, though.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Fairly narrow ones.

    If you are running a church or other religious business, you can discriminate on the basis of religion (so your Catholic school isn't required to hire a Baptist), but not on other grounds (can't refuse the Irishman on the basis that the Irish don't have souls).

    "Because God" has never been a general-purpose exemption from non-discrimination laws. It has been a very narrow one for specific religiously-affiliated businesses where religion is a bona-fide part of a job. This has, of course, led to the weirdness where Catcholic schools are now classifying everyone from teachers to janitors as "ministers" in order to require religious oaths of all staff and faculty, but that's the basis.

    Or to put it another way... Little Sisters of the Poor can require their janitors be Catholic. Chik-Fil-a cannot require their janitors be Baptist.

  • ||

    Violating anyone's First Amendment religious rights in the name of gay marriage is for all intents and purposes indefensible from a libertarian perspective.

    You've missed my point. I say it's like the gay marriage case because there is a pre-existing state-created privilege extended only to certain classes of people. Looking at that and saying "well, if we're not going to do away with that, we should at least stop denying it arbitrarily to certain disfavored classes" is not the same as being in favor of the special privileges in the first place.

  • Cathy L||

    And I support freedom of religion, but not at the cost of violating anyone's first amendment or property rights.

    Oops, too late.

  • Just Say'n||

    Can you explain what you mean here?

    Also, mind you, I think the religious liberty argument here is weak

  • Happy Chandler||

    This is a lot like interracial marriage to me. I had no idea that it would make people serve black customers!

  • Just Say'n||

    You are aware that the Loving decision did not result in requiring restaurants to serve black customers, right?

    I have no problem engaging with progressives making a counter argument, but those arguments should at least be logical or have some semblance of understanding the topic at hand

  • Duncan20903||

    You've never heard of the slippery slope fallacy?

  • EscherEnigma||

    You are aware that the Loving decision did not result in requiring restaurants to serve black customers, right?
    Hey, he's just following your example, as you seem confused on what Obergefel v. Hodges actually did.

  • EscherEnigma||

    There's also a term for people that intentionally conflate non-discrimination laws with marriage laws.

  • Eddy||

    If I understand correctly, if this particular measure passes, then it will be open to landlords to challenge the forced-association part in court.

    Now, whether that justifies voting for the measure because it extends liberty in one direction while limiting it in another direction...that's the situation with a lot of laws and I don't envy having to vote on it.

    Though I suppose some voters will be tribal enough that it will be an easy vote one way or the other.

  • Robert||

    It'd be an easy choice for me. The # of people affected adversely by keeping the anti-pot laws in place would be far greater than the # adversely affected by the landlord provision. But if the landlord provision is unconstitutional by either the US or UT const., it won't stand anyway, & is easily severable from the legal-pot provision.

  • perlchpr||

    Libertarian Macho Flash: "Of course he should be allowed to evict cancer patients simply because they're on chemo."

  • FreeRadical||

    Answered above.

  • E. Zachary Knight||

    As an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there is absolutely no basis in our faith for not associating with people who act in ways that would be a violation of our faith if we did them. In fact, our faith demands the opposite, to reach out to and help those who sin and have fallen in on hard times. Even though members of our faith do not gamble, many faithful members of the church work in casinos in Vegas. Even though we don't smoke or drink, faithful members of the church still work in jobs that require them to sell tobacco and alcohol. There is absolutely zero basis in our faith to deny renting to a person who uses marijuana.

    We are commanded to not use these substances. We are commanded to not gamble. We are not commanded to force others to not partake.

  • perlchpr||

    My understanding of LDS doctrine (weak though it may be) is that it wouldn't even prohibit a member of your church from using medical marijuana, as long as the purpose was actually medical, any more than it would prohibit you from using opiate painkillers, for the purpose of pain relief.

    I could, of course, be completely wrong.

  • Happy Chandler||

    The most recent cases from the Supreme Court forbid any court from considering if religious beliefs are valid or sincerely held. The court must accept any statement that the belief is sincerely held, and it does not need to be validated by official groups.

  • Rossami||

    Wrong. The Supreme Court has held (repeatedly) that courts have no business assessing the validity or general acceptance of a religious belief but there are no cases saying that you may not independently assess whether those beliefs are sincerely held. Fraud and making false statements to a court are both still illegal. There are no obligations to take at face value your wild claim that your religion requires you to 'proselytize' in your neighbors' houses late at night while 'freeing' them from the temptations of material possessions.

  • commentguy||

    Not entirely wrong, though. To rebut a religious belief claim you would presumably need to introduce evidence that it wasn't sincerely held, and such proof is difficult to envisage for the most part. By calling it a 'wild claim' you seem to be attacking the validity rather than the sincerity, which (as you note) is not permitted.

    In any case, it's very unfortunate because a lot of Christian arguments for religious liberty seem to be completely unrelated to the contents of the Bible, making it something of an unrebuttable claim.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Eh. In this case the guy goes beyond saying "my belief" to saying "all members of this church's belief". That's a broader, and easily falsified, claim.

    If he'd kept it to saying "I cannot […]" he'd be on safer ground.

  • FreeRadical||

    You've got the "use force" thing reversed.

  • MichaelL||

    I just lost a comment that said the same thing. Difference is, I am not LDS. Any Christian should know that one cannot demand these things. And, as far as I know, the state still allows people to consume alcohol in the state. Since this is medicinal cannabis, as well, I agree they have no leg to stand on with this argument! Thank you for your honesty. The lawyer is not being so honest. I might think differently if they were fighting recreational cannabis. But, that would be more of a legal thing. Don't get me wrong, though...FREE THE WEED! I hope it gets laughed out of the courtroom!

  • GlenchristLaw||

    Haven't you heard? Can't say "Mormon" no mo'... You microaggressors!

  • Datrebor||

    I would like to know where did you get your information about the Mormon's stance on Medical Marijuana? I've been told many times that if, the real name, Cannabis is prescribed to a patient by their Doctor then the Church is ok with it. Even the use by active Members of the Church. That includes smoking and eating. Also tell me where the Church takes a stance against being around anyone?

  • EscherEnigma||

    In this case, the guy is over-stating his claims and projecting his personal beliefs onto the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints†. That said, my understanding largely mirrors yours, where Latter-Day Saints† can partake is prescribed, but not recreationally. That said, while their official stance has long been to not shun people, their culture of shunning non-members (or even worse, former members) is well documented.

    _______
    †They released a press blast last week, they no longer wish to be called "Mormon" or "LDS". They prefer the full name of the church, and referring to the individual members as "Latter-Day Saints". While I'm up for being respectful when disrespect isn't called for, they really need to offer a respectful shorthand that isn't such a mouth-ful.

  • Rossami||

    He's got an interesting claim but this seems premature. Those arguments might be grounds for a challenge of the law after it passes. And if he does win, the likely decision would be limited to an injunction just against that one clause, not an invalidation of the entire law. I just don't see any basis for a lawsuit at this point against the initiative.

  • Spookk||

    The stupidity of people being able to excuse themselves from following laws because of a professed "belief" needs to be stopped cold.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Oh, my sweet summer child. Humans don't follow a rule unless they also believe in it. To wit: speed limits.

  • Duncan20903||

    It's a free country as long as you do as you're told to do. Isn't that right Spookk?

  • Myk||

    Unless they're forcing churches to hand out pot there's no violation. Can someone dictate whether or not their tenant can take radiation treatments because that could actually expose the landlord to dangers? If your religion says you require everyone else to follow your rules your religion is the violation. If you don't want people to live on your property according to their own moral code rather than yours, don't rent your property. It's that simple.

  • Rob Misek||

    Medical marijuana is a misnomer.

    While there may be some legitimate analgesic properties the "card" is anything but medical. Medicine is carefully produced and prescribed in doses. Marijuana comes in many strengths.

    It would be like giving people opioid cards letting them regulate the strength and potency themselves. That isn't medicine, it is simply access.

    So the misnomer "medical marijuana" is simply the gateway to the legalization of a psychotic hallucinogen that causes mental illness. There will be casualties.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Hahahahaha.

  • Duncan20903||

    Rob, Irrational fear and hysterical rhetoric are not sound bases for the formation of public policy.

  • EscherEnigma||

    What, never heard of "self-medicated"?

    I know a guy with some pretty severe ADHD. He keeps himself focused and not-bouncing-off-the-walls by having an energy-drink habit that could kill a household pet. Probably not sustainable once he's in his forties, but for now he's self-medicating because he doesn't like the side-effects of the prescription medication.

  • Observant||

    I think that's incorrect. From my understanding, MMJ is 'processed' in laboratories that do real, scientific tests that determine the strength/proportion of the medical components of the plant strain in a particular-sized weight, and the label must show this information. After a medical doctor approves the patient's use of MMJ, the dose is given at an initial interview with pharmacy experts who know which of these 'strains' is needed for various ailments, such as how much THC or CBD is in the product whose use is being guided by these experts. So the 'dose' is a certain number of times per day, and the efficacy is targeted to either calm/relax, excite appetite, produce or enhance sleep, effect pain relief, etc. The use/purpose may be multiple in certain patients (e.g., cancer treatment and anxiety), so the 'prescription' is carefully spelled out as to which strain to use when, and what effect it should produce. Patients are asked to chart the strain used, the time ingested/inhaled, the length of time the effect lasts, the actual effects, etc., so they themselves (as well as their advisor) can see how well each strain performs for the ailment in question. Adjustments are made on subsequent pharmacy visits. And a licensed medical doctor must see the patient every few months to renew the prescription for the substance, which has a monthly quantity limit based on the patient's needs.

    continue ...

  • Observant||

    At no time is the use of MMJ allowed in public or while operating any vehicle or job-related machinery. Transporting it from the MMJ pharmacy to home follows almost the same rules as transporting firearms. This 'drug' has been researched for the past 40+ years in Israel and Europe, so for our government to say there's a lack of research (caused by the same government by making research illegal) is incredulous and 'fake' news. The research exists; it just that it wasn't done in the good ol' US of A, whose FDA has been woefully underfunded & understaffed for generations.

  • Observant||

    And as far as 'giving people opioid cards letting them regulate the strength and potency themselves,' that IS true in terminal hospital & hospice situations. Patients are allowed to push their own opioid-dispensing buttons right into their IV lines to control their pain on their own. There's a tacit understanding in the medical profession that patients have a right to terminate their own hopeless existence on the schedule they choose. It's never mentioned orally because, while humane and moral, it's unfortunately illegal in most of the states. I've even seen progressive hospitals allow non-terminal patients control their own opioid IVs after certain surgeries. Also, please cite the peer-reviewed studies to support your last paragraph.

  • Observant||

    (By the way, cannabis sativa was mentioned in my grandfather's home medical atlas published in the late 1880s. It was used as a calming agent for excessive excitation or upset, and pain relief for dysmenorrhea as another example. It was usually brewed as a tea, used in tincture form, and occasionally smoked. This plant was outlawed thru the machinations of a government bureaucrat named Harry Ansliger ~ look him up on Google, Wiki, any place ~ whose Hollywood background produced Reefer Madness as a strategy for him to keep his job at a time when there was a possibility his department was going to be phased out. He particularly used the Mexicans & 'Negroes' as 'lazy' and/or 'violent' scapegoats, although damage to lily-whitepeoples' morals was another theme.)

  • Observant||

    We are now living in a new age of medical progress, mainly due to advances in technology. We know things now we were never able to fathom in the past, or would even had thought of questioning. Patients are no longer 'students' listening intently to their doctors, once publicly accepted as sage wizards. Today, patients are co-equal with doctors, with each teaching the other new doctor-patient relationships. Nowadays, patients are not afraid to ask many questions, and 'good' doctors are answering them in comprehensible ways. Patients are no longer 'subjects,' but 'participants' in their own care. Please join us in the 21st Century.

    Final entry as reply to Rob Misek 8.18.18 @ 5:20AM

  • Duncan20903||

    Sen. Orrin Hatch, who has represented Utah in Congress since 1977, has historically not been a champion of marijuana law reform, and continues to oppose full recreational legalization.

    But in a floor speech he said that "in our zeal to enforce the law, we too often blind ourselves to the medicinal benefits of natural substances like cannabis."
    /snip/

    https://tinyurl.com/y7sxfepz

  • Observant||

    I wonder if he, like John Boehner, is an executive or investor in the ...

    ! ! ! New, Exciting, formerly-ostracized & even illegal Wonder of Mother Nature's pharmacopeia, JUST Voted LEGAL in These United States of America ! ! !

    (Picture the above paragraph in a circus-style type font that's reminiscent of Barnum & Bailey.)

    ... and will 'come around' to embracing the evil weed when it can be legally monetized for personal, capitalistic profit. Never let a financial opportunity go un-plundered!

  • para_dimz||

    One word: cakes.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Long story short: not relevant in Utah.

    Long story long:
    If you're referring to the "gay wedding cake" cases, Utah does not have a public accommodation non-discrimination law that includes sexual orientation or gender identity. In Utah, were I to go up to any given butcher, baker or candle-stick maker, they could refuse me on the grounds that I'm gay without legal issue. And given that it's Utah, without social issue either.

    For that matter, their state non-discrimination law is fairly toothless even when it does cover a protected class. People in the state are more likely to fall back to Federal law (which does not include sexual orientation or gender identity) then to rely on state law.

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