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Newspaper Finds Anti-Marijuana Group Made Several False Claims Regarding Legal Marijuana in Utah

Tomorrow, voters in Utah will head to the polls to vote on whether or not to legalize medical marijuana. In anticipation, the state's biggest newspaper evaluated claims made by pro and anti-cannabis groups, and found that anti-pot organizations were making false claims.

The Salt Lake Tribune analyzed statements made by Drug Safe Utah, an anti-marijuana organization, and the Utah Patients Coalition, a pro-marijuana group, ahead of tomorrow's midterm election. They found that Drug Safe Utah had made misleading statements to the public while the Patients Coalition had not.

There were two statements in particular they highlighted as being false by Drug Safe Utah. One was a claim that the initiative would basically allow a recreational marijuana free-for-all for 19 months where police wouldn't be able to arrest anyone for cannabis-related charges if they claimed it was for medical purposes. In reality, people with medical conditions that will be covered by medical marijuana in the future would be allowed to possess small amounts of marijuana.

Another claim was that traffic fatalities would increase in Utah if they legalized marijuana. They said that fatalities had increased in Colorado after legalization and more crashes were being caused by marijuana. The newspaper noted that both of those claims are open to criticism and cannot be taken as fact, and instead pointed to a different study that found that traffic fatalities actually decrease by an average of 11 percent after a state legalizes medical marijuana (although they can't explain why that is).

In comparison, the newspaper rated two claims by the Utah Patients Coalition as "mostly true." The two claims were that there's evidence that marijuana can treat pain-related symptoms, and another claiming it helps reduce opioid dependency.

Of course, none of this really matters since the Utah legislature will pass its own medical marijuana law regardless of whether or not the state's medical marijuana ballot initiative passes tomorrow.

(h/t Salt Lake Tribune)


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