Mormons Oppose Marijuana Initiative in Utah Despite History of Cannabis Use

Mormons with Mexicans in Northern Mexico, 1908

In 1885, the prophet and president of the Mormon Church, John Taylor, purchased about 100,000 acres of land in Mexico—in Chihuahua and Sonora, to be exact, some 200 miles south of the US border. More than 300 polygamous Mormon families from Utah migrated south to settle the land and to proselytize (even today you see the traveling twosomes of fresh-faced young men in their white shirts, ties and black name tags) and, many theorize, to preserve the practice of polygamy.

At the time, Mormon polygamists were being jailed and having their property seized. Utah itself was denied statehood by the federal government to halt the practice. Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney is descended from the Mexican settlements; his father, George, and grandfather, Marion, were born in Colonia Dublán, Mexico, in 1907.

But in 1910, many who had settled in northern Mexico began an exodus back to Utah due to anti-American sentiment fueled by the Mexican Revolution. Some say they returned with a local plant introduced by the natives: cannabis.

The Mormon Church, formally known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), were and still are infamous for their teetotaler

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