‘Rocky’ Anderson blasts Utah’s cannabis compromise as ‘cruel, contemptuous,’ plans immediate legal action

File Image: Wikimedia Commons/Don LaVange; Salt Lake Temple: Maxpixel.net

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Dec. 3, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Attorney Ross “Rocky” Anderson spent Tuesday afternoon racing to draft and file one or more lawsuits against the medical cannabis replacement bill signed into law Monday night in place of the voter-approved Proposition 2.

The proposition, which won in the November election, provided for patient access to medical marijuana. The replacement places numerous restrictions on access to medical cannabis for the patients Proposition 2 was created to help.

“The action yesterday by the Legislature not only did tremendous damage for tens of thousands of people whose suffering can be relieved by medical cannabis, but it also demonstrated tremendous contempt for the democratic process provided by the Utah Constitution,” Anderson told Gephardt Daily.

“It is the height of arrogance and contempt toward this aspect of direct democracy provided for by Utah’s Constitution for the governor to call a special session at the earliest possible time after the effective date of the initiative statute to emasculate the protections for access to medical cannabis as provided in Proposition 2.”

Anderson said he will file an action answering the “disregard by the Legislature of the initiative passed by the majority of the voters in the last election,” he said.

“We’ll also likely be challenging the control and interference with the functions of government by the LDS Church in its blatant orchestration of a campaign to defeat Proposition 2, then — having lost — to have its way with the Legislature.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opposed the passage of Proposition 2, and was invited to contribute input when Governor Gary Herbert called a special session to craft a compromise bill to replace the proposition voters approved.

“No matter what happens, in the long run, the Church and its minions in the Utah Legislature are going to be the real losers, because they have just ratcheted up immensely the level of resentment by people both in and out of the Church with its heavy-handed tactics and significant disregard for the relief that medical cannabis has to offer for so many people.”

Anderson, who served as Salt Lake City’s mayor from 2000 to 2007, has been  representing multiple clients seeking access to cannabis for medical treatment. They include:

TRUCE (Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education), a nonprofit
organization focused on educating the community and stakeholders about the legitimacy of cannabis therapeutics.

The Epilepsy Association of Utah, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing
opportunities for its members to live more normalized lives while managing their epilepsy.

Doug Rice, a retired paramedic-captain, cancer survivor and caregiver to an adult
special-needs daughter, who suffers from Angelman’s Syndrome and epilepsy and uses cannabis to control her seizures.

Christine Stenquist, a brain tumor survivor, mother of four, and cannabis advocate.

Anderson said the replacement bill supporters, including the LDS Church officials, have added restrictions that will require weeks of unnecessary suffering by patients, especially those afflicted by auto-immune diseases, whose ability to receive medical cannabis was excised from the Prop 2 ballot initiative.

“We think that’s one of the cruelest features of what they’ve done here,” he said.

People who have qualifying conditions other than ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease will be required to go without “the relief for their pain offered by medical cannabis, for at least two weeks,” Anderson said. First, they will have to try conventional treatments or medication for two weeks, without relief, then return to their doctors to document they were not helped, “then finally get a recommendation for cannabis.”

Under Prop 2, “they automatically qualified as having a qualified condition that would allow an immediate recommendation of access to medical cannabis,” Anderson said.

It’s women who will feel most of that pain, said Anderson, noting that while about 7 percent of the population suffers from autoimmune conditions, 78 percent of those patients are female.

“I think total stupidity and an effort to rush this bill could be likely an explanation also. I hate to put it in those terms. I try to be civil with those I oppose on these kinds of things, but in this case there’s just too much pain and suffering involved and its being given such short shrift by people who don’t seem to know anything about which they are speaking and making public policy.”

Anderson also noted that under the newly passed law, “They’ve also placed artificial and arbitrary limits on the number of patients medical providers can treat with medical cannabis,” he said.

“If they did that with regards with opioids, we wouldn’t have people dropping dead all over our states.”

Anderson said he believes legislators are fixated on medical marijuana, “because they are mostly older, out of touch people who have no idea about what medical cannabis can do for people, I think, and because they’re getting their marching orders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which didn’t like the fact that it lost (the election) even though they were sending out emails to all their members telling them how to vote.”

Anderson said the LDS Church has a long history of trying to control the lives of both members and nonmembers. Resentment is high, he said.

“It’s not unlike the outrage people feel both inside and outside the church at the cruel mean-spirited comments regarding people who, in their view, have wrong sexual orientation.”

Anderson said the issues demand more discussion among Utahns.

“I just think that we need to have more direct conversation in this community,” he said. “Everybody’s being so quiet and so polite in the face of the Church dictating so much of our public policy and oftentimes causing tremendous resentment. It’s not going to go away. It’s just being exacerbated by the kind of thing that we’re seeing now.”


  1. Rocky Anderson Nailed it. I suffer from Fibromyalgia, Chronic pain and 12 other diagnosis and I am a woman. I watched, as the Legislature butchered Prop 2. What happened yesterday was disheartening, if the Church is suppose to be loving and Christ-like they would show compassion and charity for what’s happening. The education about Medical Cannabis was not there during the Legislature session. Those Men have no clue what Cannabis can do! I am on opioid medications I would like to wean off and replace with Cannabis. I am so disappointed I can hardly think straight. I am disabled; or I would hire an attorney to sue the State of Utah for violating our right to have a voice. I do not want to have anything to do with the Church of Jesus Chris of Ladder Day Saints!

    • I too was diagnosed with fibromyalgia which is just another word for we really can’t find anything wrong with you after watching my ex and his marijuana use I wouldn’t even touch it let alone I don’t want my kids involved with it of course he’s so uninvolved with my kids because of his marijuana use. I really don’t think marijuana is going to be the answer to everybody’s problems I do want to see people who need marijuana get it but it should not be grown home. I have relatives in Colorado and California that have moved because of legalized marijuana. I wish those who really need marijuana would even open their eyes to see that it can be a problem just like opioids and they found that out in other countries check out your research.

      • Alma, you’re right, people SHOULD :check out your research’. In your research you would learn that cannabis is 100% non addictive, nor has anyone or anything in history ever overdosed on cannabis. It could NEVER become a problem like opiates. But uneducated people spreading ignorance is even more dangerous than the opioids themselves; which is why we’re still killing ourselves today, ignorance.

  2. I have been suffering debilitating random pain. and have sleep disorder… . at times I cannot get out of bed or…. I just want to sit in a hot bath for hours…. I have been prescribed Ambien, muscle relaxers, anti anxiety medicines and most recently Cymbalta, as a I just got diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I do not want to take any of that crap. While on a trip to Oregon… I visited a dispensary and got something to help me sleep. Oh my god …. the week that I was there… I did not take one Ambien nor did I take any other pills. I slept for a straight 7 hrs and woke up feeling like a spring chicken. Other natural remedies have not helped me as much as that nighty night gummy. I’ve tried melatonin, and Valerian they gave me bad side effects. And did not relax my body the way edibles did. I’m sooooo angry with the state of Utah & the Mormon church.

  3. I love you Rocky! You have more brains (and balls) then anyone I know in Utah! I am privileged to call you friend and will help you any way that I can!

  4. The Director of missionary HealthServices for the Mormon Church Gregory Schwitzer Posted this statement . ” In states where the medicinal use of marijuana is approved legally and given under the guidance of a licensed physician, the church has [no] position… The use of medical marijuana can be a great blessing to individuals who are suffering with these diseases in which other treatments have failed.” This is not the same position and action that the church has taken in the state of Utah. What gives the church the right to break federal IRS laws about the separation of church and state ? They are breaking the law as a non profit organization . THEY ARE BREAKING THE LAW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why are they getting away with this action? Utah isn’t a democracy and our state government is a joke when the church reaches over a legally voted proposition 2 and sweeps it under the rug just to replace it with how they see it in direct conflict with there own statement by Gregory Schwitzer. Republican Jesus is not above the law.

    • Apparently they only care about the mormons in Utah or they would have thrown the same fit in all the other states. Either that or they are afraid that Utah mormons are just too stupid to figure out if medical marijuana would help a medical concern.

  5. I agree thank you Rocky Anderson for standing up for what’s right I too have been on pain killers for a very bad back in pain all the time I font like pain killers So why should we suffer they do not know any thing about the benefits of cannabis go get them if anyone can it’s you sir. Rocky thank you for staningbup got the commonpeople

  6. Most of the time I don’t agree with the mayor, but I have to say, for once, I agree whole heartedly! I personally don’t partake, however, I have a brother in law that had to move out of state for treatment of his epilepsy. A son that is in constant severe pain, from having his shoulder and collar bone broken when he was hit by an illegal alien, on his bike. I have a grandson that would benefit greatly for his ptsd, and adhd.
    The way the state disenfranchised all the voters, because they are “smarter” than the people that voted, is more than appalling! This prop, wasn’t voted on by people that are offenders, it was voted on by people that understand the benefits of a plant that was “put on this earth for the use of man.” With a daughter that was denied medical help for pain treatment, and had to turn to self medicating with whatever was “available,” would have benefited greatly with the use of this medication, and my family wouldn’t have been torn apart by the disappearance of many thousands of dollars worth of tools, material, and belongings, that can never be replaced. Not to mention the trust that was destroyed by the actions taken. I don’t care if it was the church, the state, or just a few “politicians,” the proposition was voted on by the people, not the legislature! For those blaming the church, remember, this was a majority vote, and with the church being in the majority, many members of the church had to vote for it, or it wouldn’t have passed the way it did. For you politicians that think you know more than the people that put you where you are, learn this praise, “would you like fries with that?”


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