LDS Church urges members to vote against recreational marijuana

FILE - This Aug. 4, 2015,file photo, flowers bloom in front of the Salt Lake Temple, at Temple Square, in Salt Lake City. On Monday, Sept. 5, 2016, Mormon church officials said they are decreasing the number of missionaries being sent to Russia as part of a series of adjustments because of a new Russian anti-terrorism law. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Flowers bloom at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. LDS Church leaders sent a letter Wednesday, Oct. 12 to its members in Arizona, California and Nevada urging them to vote against legalizing recreational marijuana. (AP Photo)

Leaders of the LDS Church sent a letter last Wednesday, Oct. 12 to congregations in Arizona, California and Nevada urging members to vote against measures legalizing recreational marijuana in the upcoming election.

The letter, signed by the First Presidency of the church, cites recent studies that highlight “the risk that marijuana use poses to brain development in youth.” The First Presidency also states in the letter that accessibility to recreational marijuana is a danger to children.

Such letters are normally read to congregations in church meetings, but the church has not specified when this letter will be read.

Recreational marijuana use is currently legal in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. States where medical marijuana is legal include Arizona, California, Nevada and New Mexico. The LDS Church previously opposed a medical marijuana bill in Utah in February.

“Drug abuse in the United States is at epidemic proportions, and the dangers of marijuana to public health and safety are well documented,” the letter reads. “We urge Church members to let their voices be heard in opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana use.”

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