Commentary: Vote Yes on Prop 2. It’s the compassionate thing to do.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) "Every part of the plant is used, the kief, shake and the stems, which are composted and used for fertilizer. "Eventually we would like to make paper" with the stems, said Joel Stanley, October 25, 2014. For cancer patients seeking relief from chemotherapy and parents of children with debilitating seizure disorders, the medical marijuana cultivators Joel, Jesse, Jonathan, Jordan, Jared and Josh Stanley of Colorado Springs and their non-profit Realm of Caring Foundation is their only option.

You have heard about the Utah Medical Cannabis Initiative, but have you read it? Recently, a lot of propaganda has been used as scare tactics to oppose Prop 2. We encourage everyone to look past these schemes and read the initiative before you vote. If you are having a hard time sitting down to read it all, you can learn some of the facts here. This is the list of qualifying illnesses and conditions under Prop 2:

“HIV, AIDs, or other autoimmune disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Cancer, Cachexia, or other wasting disease characterized by physical wasting such as weight and muscle loss, a condition manifest by nausea or malnutrition associated with chronic disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or other gastrointestinal disorder, Epilepsy or other disorder causing seizures, Multiple Sclerosis or other condition causing muscle spasms, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Autism, any rare condition or disease affecting less than 200,000 individuals in the U.S., Chronic or debilitating pain that a physician determines the patient is at risk of becoming dependent on or overdosing on opiate pain medication or is otherwise unable to use opiates.”

Citizens and parents should have the right to choose to treat themselves or their children with medical cannabis, under the recommendation of their physician. If you, or someone you know, lives with one of the aforementioned illnesses or conditions, you can use and benefit from legal medical cannabis in Utah, if the proposal passes this November.

This initiative is designed to help protect the health and safety of our communities. Utah’s Medical Cannabis Act is among the most stringent of all the 30 states that have some form of legal medical cannabis. If passed, anyone (or parent/legal guardian of minors) who wants to use cannabis for medical purposes will be required to receive a medical cannabis card from the Utah Department of Health. A physician’s recommendation must be obtained in order to receive this card. Physicians will approve only those with qualifying illnesses that may benefit from cannabis use.

Proposition 2 would enact/keep bans on smoking cannabis, driving under the influence or using cannabis in public view, except in medical emergencies. There will be no advertisement of dispensaries or cannabis companies on television, unlike how pharmaceutical companies advertise much more dangerous medications.

We ask you to open your hearts and vote with compassion. Our out-of-state relatives have a child with autism. If they choose to treat their child using medical cannabis in the future, they would not be able to come and visit us in Utah for any extended period of time. They would be considered criminals in this state.

We have heard so many personal stories over the past year, while gathering signatures and talking to people about using cannabis. We want to let voters know that you do not need to be afraid to think for yourself. Do your research before you vote. Make the right choice. Choose the right! Vote “YES” on Prop 2 this November. We hope you will consider who you know that may benefit from using legal medical cannabis. Vote with compassion. You can read the full text for yourself at www.utahpatients.org.

Beverly Prothero, Ogden, is retired and an advocate for her seven grandchildren and family. Genevra Prothero, Syracuse, is Beverly’s daughter-in-law, has two sons and serves as secretary of Davis County Democratic Party. Both worked together over the past year to register voters and collect signatures for Utah Patients Coalition to get the Proposition 2 initiative on the ballot.