What’s this all about?
We’re gathering 55,057 signatures statewide to place the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act on the November 2020 ballot. This act will protect sick and disabled Idahoans who have a doctor’s recommendation to use cannabis for medical purposes.
Who qualifies for medical marijuana?
People with certain debilitating medical conditions, like cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, PTSD, epilepsy, MS, Crohn’s disease, IBS, Alzheimer’s, ALS, glaucoma, Huntington’s, Tourette syndrome, as well as any condition producing severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, muscle spasms, or any terminal illness.
How much marijuana would patients be allowed to have?
Patients and their caregivers could possess up to four ounces of marijuana.
Isn’t that a lot of marijuana?
Are 300 Oxycodone pills a lot of pills? It depends on the patient’s needs. Many patients need more marijuana to produce tinctures, oils, topicals, and edibles.
Where will patients get marijuana?
New laws will be created for a medical marijuana program that includes licensed growers, processors, testers, and retail dispensaries.
Is medical marijuana taxed?
Yes, at 4%, plus Idaho sales tax. Proceeds will first fund the program, then be split 50/50 between Veterans Services and the General Fund.
How would I open a licensed medical marijuana business? What will it cost?
That is all yet to be determined by regulation.
Would patients grow their own?
No, unless they qualify for hardship cultivation exemption – meaning they have a physical, financial, or distance difficulty in acquiring marijuana at a dispensary – in which case they or a caregiver may produce six cannabis plants in an enclosed, locked facility.
If allowed to grow, can a patient reimburse a caregiver?
Yes, a patient can reimburse a caregiver “for goods or services provided in assisting with the registered qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana.”
Are out-of-state cards recognized?
Yes, but the state may decide to require some form of registration for visiting out-of-state patients.
Can kids be patients?
Yes, with parental/guardian approval.
Can patients light up in public?
No, use of marijuana will still remain illegal in public, on public transport, at schools, at daycares, and in any correctional facility.
What about discrimination?
The initiative protects the rights of patients to housing, medical care, employment, parental rights, and firearm rights. Essentially, medical marijuana patients should be treated like patients using any prescription pharmaceutical drug.
Can localities ban medical marijuana?
No, localities may only enact “reasonable zoning… regulations governing the time, place, and manner of medical marijuana organization operations.”
Are there limits on dispensaries?
They may not be located within 1,000 feet of a school; however, existing dispensaries may stay if a school moves in later within 1,000 feet.
Won’t medical marijuana just lead to recreational marijuana legalization?
Only one-third of the states with medical marijuana programs have legalized adult-use marijuana. Legalizing recreational marijuana would require passage of an entirely separate law to allow that to happen.
What about stoned driving?
Driving under the influence of marijuana will still remain a crime; however, patients will not be considered DUI only if they test positive for inactive marijuana metabolites or test so low for active marijuana that they couldn’t possibly be considered impaired.
What about butane hash oil (BHO)?
It will remain a felony for anyone other than a licensed processor to manufacture hash oil using any combustible solvent (like butane). However, patients will be able to make hash using ice water, glycerin, propylene glycol, vegetable oil, or food grade ethanol.
What about workplace drug testing?
Marijuana will be treated like any prescription drug that employers may test for. Workers may not work under the influence of marijuana; however, patients will not be considered under the influence if they test positive for inactive marijuana metabolites or test so low for active marijuana that they couldn’t possibly be considered impaired.
I heard terrible things happen to a state once it has medical marijuana, like…
In over two decades of medical marijuana in the United States, none of “the sky is falling” predictions from opponents have come true. Research actually shows a reduction in teen marijuana use (American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 2019), a decrease in traffic fatalities (American Journal of Public Health 2016), and fewer opioid prescriptions (Journal of the American Medical Association 2018) in medical marijuana states with laws like our initiative proposes.
In the past twenty-three years, not one of the
thirty-three medical marijuana states has repealed their law. If these laws have
such terrible effects, why does nobody ever repeal them?
Isn’t today’s marijuana super-potent?
Yes, some marijuana today is “stronger,” in terms of THC content, than it was back in the day. That is actually a benefit for medical marijuana patients who then need to consume less marijuana to achieve the same medicinal effect.
It’s also irrelevant, in the sense that THC (and all of marijuana) is non-toxic. Unlike alcohol, opioids, and most prescription drugs, a patient can never ingest enough to cause a fatal overdose. If a patient takes too much of too-potent marijuana, it can make them sleepy, paranoid, or uncomfortable, but in a couple of hours those effects will wane, and the patient is fine.
I heard the people and organizations behind IMMA are really just interested in recreational legalization and medical marijuana is just their “steppingstone.”
Logically, if someone believed that any adult should be allowed to use marijuana, wouldn’t they have to believe that some sick and disabled adults should be allowed to use marijuana? It’s up to the people of Idaho to decide these questions and all IMMA asks is to allow some sick and disabled people to use marijuana.
There are 33 US states that have medical marijuana programs. Eleven of those states now have legalization.
But just 13 medical marijuana states are so-called “red states” like Idaho. Only 2 (Alaska, Michigan) have legalized marijuana. The other 11 haven’t, and 3 of those (Arizona, North Dakota, Ohio) actually voted against legalization initiatives on their ballots.
I don’t know… I don’t want us to bring marijuana to Idaho.
News flash: marijuana is already in Idaho. According to the government’s National Survey on Drug Use & Health, roughly 7% of the population of Idaho admits to using marijuana on a monthly basis.
Under IMMA, the vulnerable sick and disabled Idahoans with medical marijuana cards will spend their marijuana money with legal Idaho medical marijuana organizations, with a 4% tax benefitting veterans and the state general fund.
Without IMMA, patients face misdemeanors or felonies, fines and incarceration, and suffering the side effects of their prescription pharmaceuticals they could replace with medical marijuana products.
But won’t this put pot shops all over the place, near residences, for instance?
No. Cities and counties will have the ability to regulate the time, place, and manner that medical marijuana organizations can operate. While IMMA only bars such organizations from within 1,000 feet of schools, there’s nothing stopping localities from restricting dispensaries only to certain zoned areas.
Besides, medical marijuana dispensaries would be very secure adults-only locations with security cameras and clerks who vigorously check IDs. Studies show crime actually decreases around dispensaries because of the cameras and increased foot traffic.
Shouldn’t medicines come through the standard FDA process, not a vote?
Sure, that would be great. But for over 80 years, the federal government has classified marijuana as Schedule I, which means it’s very difficult to study, most studies are designed to find harms, not benefits, and it can never go through the FDA approval process.
In the meantime, thousands of Idahoans are still treated as criminals if they use the very same marijuana that millions of patients in 33 states are using legally under state law. Why should sick and disabled Idahoans be made to suffer because they live in the wrong state?
Yeah, but nobody smokes a medicine…
Many medicines are inhaled – think of an asthma inhaler or a nasal spray – because inhalation provides instant onset of the medicine. You wouldn’t expect an asthma patient to swallow a pill and wait 45 minutes for it to digest and the medicine to open up their airways… they’d suffocate and die by then!
Likewise, inhaling cannabis is for some patients the only effective way for them to use the medicine. A chemo patient puking from intense nausea can’t swallow and keep down a pill and wait 45 minutes. But a puff on a marijuana cigarette will bring them instant relief.
Won’t it be just like California where you can just say you have a headache and you get a card?
Not at all. Opponents always try this scare, using California, one of only two medical marijuana states (Oklahoma) where doctors can recommend medical marijuana for any condition, as the scary example.
Under IMMA, a patient would have to gather documentation of the diagnosis of their medical condition, and not all conditions qualify (see other side), have an Idaho doctor recommend they use medical marijuana, fill out a form to join a state medical database, and pay the state fee (probably $100), and repeat that process every year.
Wouldn’t drug traffickers use the IMMA as a cover for illegal activities?
How many criminals do you know who want their name, address, and contact info on a state database accessible to law enforcement 24-hours a day?
If anything, IMMA hurts drug traffickers by taking a significant portion of their most regular customers from them and putting them in state-regulated dispensaries that check ID.
I want to help your campaign. What can I do?
You can join us at Facebook at IdahoCann. We need volunteers all across the state to gather petition signatures, county by county, to place the Idaho Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November ballot. You can also donate financially or with in-kind support.