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The subject of cannabis in politics is certainly a hot one for 2014, even throughout Utah. A grassroots organization, Utah CARE – Cannabis Awareness, Reform and Education – has taken the challenge of asking every candidate for each political office their personal opinion regarding whole plant cannabis reform.
Thus far, over 200 candidates have been contacted since the filing of documents was opened in March and several have responded in a positive manner, supportive of reform, or with an open mind, requesting further information.
Utah CARE has also sent a survey to every candidate who has responded in support of reform (or who has previously supported it). The survey questions are specific to various aspects of cannabis reform, from medicinal to recreational and industrial hemp.
Andrew McCullough, an attorney, and candidate for Utah Attorney General representing the Libertarian Party of Utah, was one of the first respondents to Utah CARE’s outreach project, and deserves recognition for his thoughtful commentary in his survey response.
“I am a member of both Marijuana Policy Project and NORML. The war on Drugs is a war on freedom and it needs to stop,” McCullough said. “I favor legalization of marijuana for whatever purpose. Ending the war on drugs would be a high priority for me. I do not, however, use it. It is not my thing. But I do not claim authority to tell others what to do”.
In response to the survey, McCullough also stated, “There is no evidence that the use of marijuana is a serious health risk. Even if it were, it makes no sense to arrest or jail those who use it. It is making criminal of a whole generation, and it is totally unjustified”.
McCullough explained, “I am not a doctor, but all the evidence I have is that it can be beneficial. My sister, when dying from cancer, found it helped her to be able to eat and keep food down. She had to commit a crime to get relief. That in itself is a crime against humanity”.
Regarding recreational marijuana, McCullough stated “I am not sure I like the term ‘recreational.’ But I would favor legalization here similar to Colorado.” He is also in favor of industrialized hemp production.
Mr. McCullough received his undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University and achieved his J.D. from the University of Utah in 1973.
Utah CARE will endorse and campaign for (almost) any candidate who is reasonable about the cannabis question, believing in whole plant reform for medicinal, recreational and industrial hemp benefits for the entire state of Utah.
If you are a member of a state reform organization, consider reaching out to candidates for local and state offices with a questionnaire or survey about cannabis. Not only will it help you get an idea of which candidates to support, it may also be the first time the candidate has been asked about cannabis reform, and simply starting this conversation encourages thought around the issue. This type of outreach also serves as a simple yet poweful introduction between your organization and a newly elected official, who may some day be the person you will work with in creating legislation to legalize cannabis in your state.