ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
84°
Mostly Clear
H 91° L 70°
  • cloudy-day
    84°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Clear. H 91° L 70°
  • clear-day
    91°
    Today
    Mostly Clear. H 91° L 70°
  • clear-day
    91°
    Tomorrow
    Mostly Clear. H 91° L 70°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Groups sue to block medical marijuana compromise in Utah

A pair of advocacy groups in Utah sued Thursday to block a compromise agreement legalizing medical marijuana, accusing the Mormon church of unconstitutional domination and interference in a process that led to the gutting of a measure approved by voters.

The lawsuit alleges the revised initiative creates overwhelming obstacles for suffering patients who want to obtain the drug. It also asks a judge to set aside the revision passed by lawmakers and keep the original version that won with 53 percent of the vote in November.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints didn't immediately comment.

Mormons have long frowned upon marijuana use because of a key church health code called the "Word of Wisdom," which prohibits the use of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs. However, it previously stood behind the work it did to help craft the compromise before the election that it considers a safer medical marijuana program.

The changes signed into law on Monday ban many marijuana edibles; prevent people from growing their own marijuana if they live far from a dispensary; and narrow the list of eligible medical conditions for which the drug can be obtained. Smoking marijuana wasn't allowed in the original ballot measure and won't be permitted under the new version.

The legal challenge isn't a surprise. The plaintiffs — an organization called Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education, or TRUCE, and the Epilepsy Association of Utah — had warned they would sue if the ballot measure was altered. They were upset that the primary organization backing medical pot in the state agreed to the compromise before the election.

Utah law gives state legislators the authority to change the language of laws passed by voters.

Supporters of the compromise, including some advocates of medical marijuana, say it was a key to guaranteeing quick legalization and convincing conservative lawmakers not to repeal the law.

The Utah Patients Coalition, the main medical marijuana group that backed the ballot measure, has said it agreed to the compromise so it could prevent radical changes to the measure after the election and to gain widespread community acceptance. It acknowledged that the Mormon church has a powerful voice in Utah politics.

About two-thirds of the state's residents belong to the religion and nearly nine in 10 members of the Legislature are Mormon along with the governor, the lawsuit states.

It says Mormons are taught to follow and trust the direction of their leaders, who opposed the ballot proposal over fears it could lead to broader use of marijuana. As the proposal seemed to gain support, the church agreed to the pre-election deal to allow access for people with serious medical needs.

The lawsuit notes that church lobbyist Marty Stephens told a gathering of local church leaders two days before the Nov. 6 election to "follow the prophet" and vote against the ballot proposition. The Utah Constitution bars any church from dominating or interfering with state functions, the lawsuit says.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed the revised compromise law Monday after he called a special legislative session.

He didn't comment on the lawsuit itself Thursday, but said the compromise restricting access has broad support in Utah.

"The concern we had was this is too loose, which leads to recreational marijuana," he said.

Patients can now use medical marijuana legally in Utah but likely won't be able to buy it legally in-state until at least 2020, officials said.

The state will need time to build a database to start issuing patients medical-cannabis cards, and to grant licenses for dispensaries.

Read More

News

  • A Louisiana woman does not have a car, but that does not stop her from going to work. >> Read more trending news  Anita Singleton works at a Walmart in Slidell, and when she is unable to find a ride she walks more than six miles to the store. 'Just because I don't have a vehicle is no excuse for me not to show up to work,' Singleton told WWL.  Slidell police Officer Bradley Peck was certainly impressed. Peck posted his early Monday encounter with Singleton on Facebook, writing that he was wrapping up his shift at 5:30 a.m. when he saw a woman walking across the Front Street Bridge in Slidell. She was wearing a Walmart uniform. “If you've driven on (the bridge), you know how dangerous and narrow it is,” Peck wrote. Peck turned his squad car around and flashed his lights to stop traffic. “Not gonna lie here,” Peck wrote on Facebook. “I thought to myself, 'Lady, get off this bridge before you get run over, especially in all dark clothing.’” Singleton, who has worked at the Northshore Walmart in Slidell for three years, told the officer she was walking to work. 'I said. ‘Northshore? That's a long walk, ma'am, why don't you jump in. I'll give you a ride,' Peck told WWL.  'He brought me all the way to the front door, and that was an incredible blessing,' Singleton told the television station.  The two discussed religion, families, work ethic and how they were raised, WWL reported. “(I have) a lot of respect for her,' Peck told the television station. A Walmart manager said that since Singleton’s co-workers learned she does not have a car, they have offered her rides when she needs them, according to WWL. 
  • Six months after making national headlines, Braxton Moral is set to graduate high school and get a degree from Harvard University -- and the accomplishments will be made days apart. Moral, 17, graduated from Ulysses High School in Ulysses, Kansas, on Sunday. He will graduate with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in government from Harvard Extension School May 30, ABC News reported. He minored in English at the school. >> Read more trending news  “I’m relieved to have a little bit of a head start,” Moral told “Good Morning America.” “I thought it really broadened my horizons. It helped me understand new things and what I want to do (in life).” As part of Harvard Extension School, Moral has been going to college and K-12 since he was 11 years old. “My parents noticed I was bored in school and needed something to inspire growth, so they ended up finding the Extension School,” Moral told CNN. Moral’s parents knew that their son was intellectually gifted at a young age, and was noticed by one of his professors at Harvard, too. “Intellectually, he is extraordinary, but more than that, it is his discipline and endeavor which has enabled him to begin adult life with such startling success,” Kevin McGrath, an associate professor in south Asian studies who taught Moral at Harvard, told “GMA.” Related: Kansas teen graduating from high school, Harvard in same month Next, Moral hopes to go to Columbia University and study constitutional law. Moral has written about his experience in his book, “Harvard in the Heartland,” which will be released in September.
  • Officials with Eastern Virginia Medical School said Wednesday that a three-month investigation into how a racist photo appeared in Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 yearbook ended inconclusively. >> Read more trending news Officials launched an investigation into the photo, which showed a man posing in blackface next to a person in a Ku Klux Klan robe, after it surfaced Feb. 1. School administrators said they’d investigate the image’s origins and the broader campus culture in the 1980s as part of the probe. Update 10:55 am. EDT May 22: Attorney Ben Hatch, a partner at McGuireWoods, the law firm that conducted the independent probe, said investigators were unable to determine who was in the racist photo or how it got into the yearbook. “We could not conclusively determine the identity of either individual depicted in the that photograph,” Hatch said Wednesday at a news conference. “No individual that we interviewed has told us from personal knowledge that the governor is in that photo and no individual with knowledge has come forward to report to us that the governor is in that photograph.” Investigators interviewed 52 people over the course of their probe, including administrators, faculty, staff, current students and alumni at EVMS. On Wednesday, they shared details of the 36-page report developed from the probe. Hatch said investigators, hampered by the time since the yearbook was published, were unable to determine exactly how the photo got in the yearbook. He noted that several images were found in EVMS yearbooks between 1976 and 2013 -- when the school stopped publishing yearbooks -- that could be considered offensive to women, minorities and others. Original report: Officials including EVMS President Richard V. Homan and attorneys with the McGuireWoods law firm, which conducted the investigation, will hold a news conference at 10:30 a.m., according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. >> Embattled Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam conducts business as usual, no plans to step aside Northam initially admitted to being one of the two people in the photo after it surfaced, but he later walked the statement back and said he was unaware of the photo before his staff showed it to him in February. He did, however, admit to wearing blackface to imitate Michael Jackson during a dance competition in the 1980s. “There were actions and behaviors in my past that were hurtful,” he said during a February news conference, according to WDBJ. “But like Virginia, I have also made significant progress in how I approach these issues.” >> Va. Gov. Ralph Northam says he plans to finish term with devotion to racial equity Eastern Virginia Medical School banned yearbooks in 2014, according to The Washington Post. The controversy surrounding Northam’s yearbook photo is one of several high-profile scandals that gripped the highest levels of Virginia state government earlier this year. Less than a week after the photo in Northam’s yearbook surfaced, state Attorney General Mark Herring admitted to wearing blackface to a party in the 1980s. Days after that, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax was accused by two women of sexual assault, allegations he denied.
  • After 79 years of marriage, an Illinois couple are still living a sweet life. >> Read more trending news  Curtis Peters and Virginia Gregory were married in Knoxville, Iowa, on May 18, 1940, according to Iowa marriage records on Ancestry.com. Curtis Peters is now 100, and Virginia Peters is 103, and they celebrated their anniversary last week.  Their hearts have melted ever since their marriage, and they share a Hershey’s chocolate bar daily, according to WQAD. “Chocolate keeps him going, and he keeps her going, they love each other very much,” the couple’s daughter, Susan Peters Cathoir, told the television station. The couple moved from Iowa to a nursing home in Illinois to be closer to Cathoir, the fourth of the Peters’ five children. Cathoir told “Today” there was always chocolate around the home when she was growing up. Cathoir said her parents even melted Hershey’s bars so the family could dip their ice cream into the chocolate. The couple even took the family on a bus trip from Iowa to Pennsylvania in the late 1950s to visit Hershey Park (now Hersheypark) to see how their favorite sweet was made, according to “Today.” The couple met while living in Cedar Falls, Iowa, where they attended the Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa). After their marriage, Curtis Peters was a self-employed painter in Waterloo, while Virginia Peters was a teacher, WQAD reported. “It’s a long, long time, but they are good times,” Virginia Peters told the television station. The Peters’ children bring chocolate whenever they visit. 'I keep a pack in the freezer and go and give them one every day.” Cathoir told “Today.” I always leave chocolate in their drawer so in case I can't make it or I'm late, one of the (nurses) can make sure they still get it.” Cathoir said the Hershey’s bar keeps her father alive, “and he keeps her alive.” 'He shares it with her all the time — he shares everything with her and she with him,” Cathoir told “Today.” “Yes, and they are still madly in love, isn’t that great?” their nurse, Julie Derick, told WQAD. “They hold hands all the time.” The couple celebrated their 79th anniversary last weekend with family and friends, the television station reported. Chocolate was definitely on the menu.
  • A Tennessee man is accused of threatening police officers and rolling up a marijuana blunt in front of them. >> Read more trending news  Lemink Mitchell was arrested Tuesday in Memphis, WHBQ-TV reported. Memphis police said they were called to the home because Mitchell was threatening to kill his mom after she kicked him out. She wanted officers to get him out of the home, police said. When officers arrived, they said he threatened to kill them, too. Police said while they were talking to him, he started to cuss at them. “He don’t give a (expletive) that officers are right here. He is going to do what he want to do,” he told the police. He then rolled up some marijuana into a blunt before trying to escape, police said. Court records said multiple people came out of their houses while he was running away. After a short chase, Mitchell was arrested. Mitchell is facing multiple charges, including disorderly conduct and evading arrest.
  • A Virginia woman who recently died had some extreme, and illegal, final wishes. She wanted her dog Emma euthanized so the dog and the woman could be together forever. Workers at Chesterfield Animal Shelter were caring for Emma for two weeks as they tried to dissuade the executor of the woman’s estate from going through with the woman’s plans. The workers tried to get the person to sign over the ownership of the dog to the shelter so workers could find the shih tzu mix a new home, WWBT reported.  The person held firm and picked up the dog and then took it to a vet’s office, had it put down and then taken to a pet cremation business. The remains were put in an urn and returned to a representative of the woman’s estate. >> Read more trending news  WWBT did not say how the remains were handled after the pet’s cremation. But there was an issue. While it is technically legal to put down a healthy pet in Virginia, there is an ethical question surrounding it, so it could be difficult to find a veterinarian to put down an animal, according to WWBT.  But it is illegal in the commonwealth to bury an animal’s remains, whether it is a dog or any other animal, in a casket in a cemetery. But the law applies only to a commercial cemetery. Private and family-owned cemeteries can be an exception to the law, WWBT reported.