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The Latest: Medical pot advocates drop Mormon church claim

May 3, 2019
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FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2014, file photo, the angel Moroni statue sits atop the Salt Lake Temple, at Temple Square, in Salt Lake City. Utah is asking a judge to dismiss a case filed by marijuana advocates claiming the state conspired with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to overhaul a voter-approved medical pot ballot initiative. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on a lawsuit challenging sweeping changes to a medical-marijuana ballot initiative (all times local):

4:57 p.m.

A lawyer for medical-marijuana advocates says he’s dropping a claim that Utah lawmakers conspired with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to overhaul a voter-approved medical pot ballot initiative.

Attorney Rocky Anderson said on Friday afternoon that the lawsuit will instead focus arguments that it was unconstitutional to replace a law passed by voters. It will also raise questions about whether the statute violated federal law.

Utah had argued that the church did not unduly influence sweeping changes made to the new ballot measure.

Members of the Utah-based faith have long frowned on marijuana use because of a church health code that prohibits the use of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.

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4:30 p.m.

Utah is asking a judge to dismiss a case filed by marijuana advocates claiming the state conspired with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to overhaul a voter-approved medical pot ballot initiative.

The state argued in a recent court filing that the church did not influence sweeping changes made to the new ballot measure. The April 22 filing says church leaders exercised free speech by lobbying officials against the proposition.

Members of the Utah-based faith have long frowned on marijuana use because of a church health code that prohibits the use of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.

Marijuana advocate Christine Stenquist said she will fight the motion.

Church spokesman Doug Anderson declined to comment Friday.

The changes ban many marijuana edibles and narrow the list of dispensaries and medical conditions through which marijuana can be obtained.