Idaho House Lets SB 1150 Die, Last of Session’s Marijuana-Affecting Bills

SB 1150, the bill that would ban out-of-state signature gathering for citizen initiatives in Idaho, has been placed on General Orders, meaning that it is essentially dead for this legislative session.

The word from our lobbyist in the statehouse is that some Republican lawmakers objected to the fact that SB 1150 would harm the right of Idaho soldiers and missionaries and students living abroad to sign an initiative, Idahoans who would retain their rights to vote on an initiative with an absentee ballot while out of state.

We’d like to think we had a little something to do with that. In testimony against SB 1150, we made those exact points. Your support makes those moments possible. Thank you.

Despite all the headaches at the legislature this year, 2021 was a breakthrough session at the Idaho Legislature for advancing marijuana policy reform

  • HB 108 The Sgt. Kitzhaber Medical Marijuana Act was sponsored by Rep. Kingsley (R-Lewiston) and Rep. Rubel (D-Boise). While it left us wanting as far as what we’d prefer for medical marijuana, the mere fact that it was introduced and got a hearing was a new step forward in Idaho.
  • HB 126 The creation of a licensing system for cultivation, processing, and transporting industrial hemp finally brings this crop to Idaho. But we still counsel Idahoans that this does not legalize hemp possession without a license. We still have a way to go before CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC are legal for everyone.
  • SB 1150 Nobody had ever really tried collecting signatures out of state. That was before eight marijuana shops opened right over the border and somebody informed a senator who then wrote this bill to require all petitions to be signed within Idaho. Now that it’s dead, you can bet we are going to collect signatures at dispensaries!
  • SJR 101 / HJR 4 The two bills that threatened to make marijuana initiatives forever impossible in Idaho both died in the House. Part of killing those bills was our lobbying on how this was too radical a step that would threaten ever legalizing medical marijuana, medical CBD, or even truly legalizing industrial hemp.
  • SB 1110 The only bill we failed to stop was this one that immediately increases petition signature gathering requirements from half to all of the state’s legislative districts. This probably doesn’t affect IMMA, but does make PAMELA and PAMDA more difficult. But this new law has far more powerful opposition than us—Reclaim Idaho and the ACLU of Idaho. The former group will be running an initiative to repeal all district requirements and the latter group will be suing to overturn the requirements in court as unconstitutional.

The legislature in 2013 declared that it would never legalize marijuana for any purpose. Just eight years later, they’ve approved a medical CBD oil bill (that was vetoed by the governor), introduced a medical marijuana bill, and legalized licensed hemp production. There are now legislators on both sides of the aisle who have spoken to the benefits of medical cannabis for cancer patients and others. More have come to recognize that hemp is not a drug but a valuable industrial crop.

We will continue our efforts to educate them where they are ignorant, oppose them when they are harmful, and support them in their growth. Our phone line is always open to any legislator who’d like to learn more.

U.S. House Passes SAFE Banking Act With Bipartisan Majorities

Late Monday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the SAFE Banking Act with the two-thirds majority needed by a vote of 321–101.

Democrats voted for the bill 215–0. Republicans voted for the bill 106–101.

The SAFE Banking Act would legalize federally-regulated banking institutions to do business with state-legal medical and recreationally businesses, bringing an end to the all-cash nature of the business that is a target for theft, fraud, and tax evasion.

The House has passed the legislation in the prior Congress, both as standalone legislation and as measures tucked into COVID relief bills. Those attempts died in the then-Republican-held U.S. Senate.

With Democrats now in charge of the Senate and White House, there is much optimism that this could be the year the cannabis industry becomes federally legal in the states that allow it.

Rep. Chad Christensen Explains His Vote Against HJR 4

In the Idaho Legislature, a Republican who absolutely hates marijuana legalization and would never vote for it, but recognizes that hemp CBD oil is medicinal for children’s seizures and might support a Utah-strict medical marijuana program is considered a progressive reformer.

I did not vote for HJR4. This would amend the Idaho Constitution to require a 2/3rds vote from the legislature to move schedule 1 drugs to schedule 2. The body has never gotten a 2/3rds vote when moving drugs to schedule 2. I am not an advocate of marijuana and will NEVER support legalizing recreational use. However, whether we like it or not it does have healing properties. CBD oil would be near impossible to be approved, if this passed. I know of a child in our district that has violent 3-hour seizures if he is not using CBD oil, because of his epilepsy. His parents can be criminalized for simply caring for their child. CBD oil has .3 THC and it is impossible for anyone to get a high from it. I testified that methamphetamine, heroin, LSD, etc. will never become legal. Yes, there are states that have irresponsibly used medical marijuana. However, there are more states that have done it responsibly. This can be very tightly regulated. The LDS Church even backed medical marijuana in Utah. I do not see a problem in Utah. This was a very difficult vote for me. I knew I would have people that vastly disagreed with me no matter how I voted.

Idaho is Still North America’s Last Absolute Prohibition State

With the signing of HB 126, Idaho has finally joined the rest of North America in legalizing at least the licensing of industrial hemp farming. But Idaho still stands alone as North America’s last absolute marijuana prohibition state.

Some outlets will reproduce state maps of marijuana laws differing from our, including Kansas and Nebraska as “red” marijuana prohibition states similar to Idaho.

To be fair, marijuana prohibition is still a big deal in Kansas and Nebraska. Neither state has a medical marijuana law and will still arrest and jail you for any form of marijuana, even industrial hemp.

However, Kansas in 2019 passed “Claire and Lola’s Law,” which legalized the use of CBD oils containing less than 5 percent THC. The law is extremely narrow, applying only to desperately ill patients who’ve exhausted all other pharmaceutical options. Then patients must get a doctor’s recommendation for the CBD, which they are not allowed to purchase for another fifteen months. Then, after a third-party lab has tested the CBD oil, it may be purchased, but possession of it is still a crime; the law merely provides for an affirmative defense in court after the patient has been arrested.

Kansas and Nebraska are fighting out for second place among America’s marijuana prohibition states.

And yet, that’s still better than Idaho, where possession of anything with THC in it is “marijuana,” no matter how sick you may be, how little THC is in it, or how long you’ve had a doctor’s note.

Kansas’s medical CBD law puts it in a similar category as many of the Southern and Midwestern states labeled in the Yahoo! map as “medical only states,” along with other states with fully-functioning medical marijuana programs like Rhode Island or Oklahoma. That’s why our maps differentiate from “Medical CBD States” and “Medical Marijuana States.” Both these types of states still maintain some measure of criminal prohibition for non-medical possession of marijuana.

Nebraska does not have a medicinal CBD law. Like Idaho, all possession of marijuana by anybody is a crime. But industrial hemp is legal in Nebraska and first-time possession is decriminalized, so that someone possessing an ounce or less is subject only to civil infraction fine of $300 and a drug education course.

Half of the US states have these sort of decriminalization laws, though seventeen of them have since gone on to adopt full adult legalization (Washington never had decriminalization before legalization), leaving seven medical marijuana states and Nebraska where at least first-time marijuana possession is decriminalized.

That leaves Idaho alone as the only state where the possession of any kind of marijuana (even hemp) by any person (even sick people) at any time (even a first offense) without a state card or hemp license, is a misdemeanor crime for which immediate arrest, jail, and possible prison time are on the table—not just in the USA, but all of North America, since Canada already legalized and Mexico’s Supreme Court declared prohibition illegal and their Congress is set to legalize marijuana by the summer.

Idaho is literally the only absolute marijuana prohibition state on the continent.

Idaho Gov. Signs Hemp Bill That Does NOT Legalize Hemp

Hemp Field

News outlets are reporting that Gov. Brad Little has signed HB 126, making Idaho the 50th state to “legalize hemp.”

The bill does no such thing. Hemp is still illegal to possess, cultivate, transport, and use in the state of Idaho… if you lack a hemp license.

This is an important distinction. Rep. Dorothy Moon, among others, has noted that the bill does not remove industrial hemp—defined as cannabis grown to produce less than 0.3 percent THC—from the state’s list of Schedule I controlled substances.

The definition of “marijuana” in Idaho Code §37-2701(t) includes anything that contains any amount of THC in it, the cannabinoid associated with a euphoric sensation, as well as numerous medicinal effects.

The additions to code included in HB 126 do provide that hemp can be cultivated, processed, transported, and used legally in Idaho, but only if you have a hemp license. It’s like how medical marijuana cards work in the states that haven’t legalized for all adults; marijuana’s still illegal, but if you have a license, you can’t be busted.

But HB 126 includes specific language that reiterates that the less than 0.3 percent hemp you possess is “marijuana” if you lack that license, and you can be prosecuted for possessing “marijuana” so low in THC it could never get anybody high. (See our detailed explanation of the text of HB 126 here.)

So, yes, Idaho farmers who procure a license under the federal Farm Bills that legalized hemp, or under a hemp state plan that has yet to be formalized, could cultivate hemp without fear of prosecution. But they’d better hope their crops don’t “come in hot”—expressing over 0.3 percent THC—or they have at worst a field of illegal marijuana they could face charges over, or, at best, worthless hemp that must be destroyed.

And yes, Idaho processors with one of those licenses could turn that hemp into all manner of products for sale and not face prosecution for possessing illegal “marijuana.”

But then, to whom in Idaho do they sell it? Again, anything with THC in it is “marijuana,” and that would include low-THC CBD oils, pain creams, tinctures, gummies, and dog treats that are so popular nationwide, as well as pre-rolled hemp cigarettes. Unless the state begins handing out hemp licenses for possession or until it creates state laws allowing for possession of low-THC hemp, many Idaho hemp products will have to be exported.

We are excited that Idaho has finally joined the rest of North America in allowing licensed farmers to grow industrial hemp. It is literally the tiniest baby step forward for cannabis policy in the Gem State and we applaud it. But let’s not fool the people of Idaho into thinking the hemp products legal in every other state but Kansas are now legal here. There is still a lot of work to be done, from removing hemp from the list of controlled substances altogether to providing medical access to higher-THC products for sick and disabled Idahoans to ending the anachronistic criminalization of adults who choose to use a substance safer to self and society than alcohol.

Idaho Citizens Coalition on Boise Radio for 4/20 Morning

Despite disagreeing with us 100%, Kevin Miller is always gracious about having us on the air to discuss marijuana in Idaho.

Our 4/20 starts bright and early this year! Prior to emceeing our 4/20 Rally at the Capitol, our spokesperson, Russ Belville, will be appearing in studio live on The Kevin Miller Show, the top rated political drive-time talk radio show in the Boise Metro Area.

You can listen in the Boise area by tuning in to AM 580 or FM 107.5 on your radio, or listen online from, anywhere using the button above.

Russ will address the status of Idaho as America’s Last Absolute Marijuana Prohibition State, including the statistics behind marijuana arrests, the rate of marijuana use among adult Idahoans, the polling showing widespread support for medical marijuana generally and IMMA specifically, and the economic costs of maintaining Idaho’s policy of criminal prohibition for marijuana that, according to a Pew Research Center poll released last week, only eight percent of Americans support.

The recent assault by the Idaho Legislature on the right of Idahoans to petition for changes in marijuana policy will also be a topic of discussion, from the failed attempt to make future marijuana initiatives impossible HJR 4 to the successful attempt to make future marijuana initiatives more difficult SB 1110 to the ongoing attempt to ban signature colleting at out-of-state marijuana dispensaries SB 1150.

Industrial hemp will also be covered, as the bill being reported on by local media as “legalizing industrial hemp” HB 126 does not actually do so; it merely provides an exception to prosecution for marijuana crimes to those in possession of industrial hemp and a federal or state hemp license—average Idahoans in possession of hemp (or common hemp CBD products) will still be treated as criminals in possession of marijuana under the new hemp law.

Just Eight Percent of Americans Support Marijuana Prohibition

Click to view the entire poll at Pew Research Center

In yet another indicator that Idaho is going the wrong way on marijuana policy, a new survey released by the Pew Research Center shows just eight percent (8%) of the American public support keeping marijuana absolutely illegal like Idaho does.

A remarkable ninety-one percent (91%) of Americans support legal use of marijuana for medical purposes. Polling from 2019 shows support for medical marijuana in Idaho at seventy-two percent (72%).

Idaho, along with Kansas and Nebraska, are the only remaining states that have no medicinal marijuana law or low-THC CBD oil law. However, Nebraska does not treat first-time marijuana possession as a crime, and both states have hemp licensing programs that Idaho lacks (as of press time).

Support for recreational marijuana legalization is at sixty percent (60%), somewhat lower than a recent Quinnipiac Poll’s support for legalization at sixty-nine percent (69%). The last time Pew asked the question about marijuana legalization in 2019, its support stood at sixty-seven percent (67%) and support for medical marijuana was the same at ninety-one percent (91%).

There is no longer any real opposition to medical marijuana in America—outside a few statehouses. The greatest support for not even allowing medical marijuana was among conservatives and that was only fifteen percent (15%).

The support does wane among all demographics when it comes to adult marijuana legalization. Liberals support legalization at eighty-two percent (82%), while conservative support is only thirty-nine percent (39%). Only thirty-two percent (32%) of people over age 75 supported legalization and just forty-three percent (43%) of Asians.

Every other demographic in the poll showed majority support for legalization.

POLITICO: How the hometown of tater tots became a cannabis capital

National news media are beginning to take notice of Idaho’s Cannabis Capital—Ontario, Oregon. POLITICO is read by political leaders at the state and national level all across the country. Here’s just a smidgen of the fantastic feature piece they put out today.

That’s because this small agricultural town — best known for Ore-lda’s creation of the tater tot in the 1950s—is just a 50-minute drive from Boise, Idaho. It sits at the edge of the Treasure Valley, where more than 700,000 people — 40 percent of Idaho’s population — reside.

Marijuana remains illegal in Idaho. In fact, it is one of only two states left in the nation that bans all forms of cannabis, including hemp and CBD products. But drive across the border into Oregon, and Idahoans can purchase every conceivable type of cannabis product, from THC infused artisan grape taffy to 1.5 gram pre-rolled joints.

In the year and a half since Ontario began allowing weed sales, nine dispensaries have opened. It’s estimated that the city will generate $120 to $130 million in annual sales when the cannabis industry is fully up and running — that’s more than 10 percent of Oregon’s sales in 2020.

That’s right, Idaho is buying ten percent of all Oregon’s legal marijuana. Oregon gets all the marijuana tax money from Idaho’s marijuana smoking.

And, small correction. While both Idaho and Kansas ban low-THC CBD oil, Kansas does have legal hemp.

Gov. Little Signs SB1110, Immediately Makes Initiatives Far More Difficult

The only place in Idaho where a majority opposes medical marijuana.

UPDATE: It is unclear whether the emergency declaration in SB 1110 actually applies to IMMA, since it was filed under the original 18-district law. Informally, the Secretary of State believes IMMA will be “grandfathered in.” Idaho Citizens Coalition has filed a letter with the Attorney General’s office for his opinion. It’s not hard to imagine opponents arguing that it was to apply to the IMMA; it’s a question that may have to be settled in court.

Idaho Gov. Brad little this morning signed SB 1110, the bill that immediately increases signature gathering requirements for initiative petitions, including the already-circulating Idaho Medical Marijuana Act.

Under previous law—which has only resulted in one initiative in eighteen years qualifying for the ballot and passing—circulators had to collect signatures reaching two thresholds:

  1. 6% of the signatures from registered voters statewide; and
  2. 6% of the signatures from registered voters in 18 of 35 legislative districts.

Under the new law, which has an emergency declaration to go into effect immediately, circulators must collect 6% of the signatures in each of all 35 legislative districts.

The ALCU of Idaho has already vowed to sue the state under the Idaho Constitution, and the 1st and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as violations of civil rights. The Idaho Citizens Coalition will file an amicus brief in support.

The Idaho Constitution vests in “the people” the power to both “propose” and “pass” laws by initiative. This legislation makes that power to “propose” nigh impossible, given the vast geographic expanse of some Idaho legislative districts. We will argue that constitutional amendments should necessary to remove constitutional rights and that SB 1110 is a statutory attempt to circumvent constitutional rights.

Also, how can “the people” be two different sets of people with respect to this two-pronged power to “propose” and “pass” laws? How can “the people” who pass initiatives be “50% or more of all the people in the state, no matter where they live” but the “the people” who propose initiatives are “6% of District 1 + 6% of District 2 + … 6% of District 35?”

Furthermore, SB 1110 creates a single-district veto loophole. Proponents of a measure could circulate petitions for eighteen months, succeed in collecting 100,000 signatures statewide and qualifying in all 35 districts. Then, all opponents would need to do is identify which of the 35 districts cleared the 6% threshold by the smallest margin, then target that district with a “take your signature off the petition” campaign. They would only need to remove perhaps 100 signatures to drop that district below 6%, and all the statewide support in the other 34 districts is moot. And to add insult to injury, taking a signature off a petition can be done through an email to the county clerk! We could collect 100,000 signatures over eighteen months in person, and it could all be undone by 100 emails in one district in a week.

And under the U.S. Constitution, the 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection under the law. Part of that principle is the idea of “one person, one vote,” that is, all votes should could equally in an election.

Originally, Idaho law only required that 6% of signatures be collected statewide. When initiatives then made the ballot that the legislature did not approve of, it changed the requirements so that circulators needed 6% of the signatures from half of Idaho’s counties.

That law was declared unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment because it violated “one person. one vote.” If one county had, say, 100,000 voters and another county had 10,000, then 6% from County A would be 6,000 and 6% from County B would be 600. Then, if you collected one signature from County A, you’re 1/6000th closer to your goal, but if you collected in County B, you’re 1/600th closer to your goal. In other words, a signature from County B is ten times more valuable to a campaign than a signature from County A. One person’s vote in County B is like ten people’s votes in County A, and thus unconstitutional.

When Idaho’s legislature in response created the 18 legislative district requirement, they thought they’d solved the constitutional question. Legislative districts must be within a small margin of the same population, for the same 14th Amendment reasons discussed above. That’s why a city district is a few square miles and a rural district can be thousands of square miles, because they contain roughly the same population.

However, under the new 35 district rule, how “roughly” these districts match becomes more important, because the signature requirements are from registered voters, not the entire population. That’s where the differences become important. At the top of the list, one Idaho district’s 6% goal is 3,009 signatures. At the bottom of the list, one Idaho district’s 6% goal is 1,309 signatures. Thus, when we collect a signature in the bottom district, we’re about 2¼ closer to the 6% goal than when we collect one in the top district. How does that not violate “one person, one vote?”

Finally, under the 1st Amendment, Americans have the freedom of speech and the right to petition their government for a redress of grievances. The Idaho Legislature has made it clear in their other initiative-attacking bills and their own debate in the Statehouse that their general goal is to to make citizen initiatives more difficult and their specific goal is to stop marijuana initiatives. This could be considered an attack on those rights under a doctrine called “prior restraint,” which restricts governments from preventing free speech based on its political content.

Regardless whether SB 1110 survives the court challenges or not, we will continue to collect signatures for the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act in all 35 districts. We will also support Luke Mayville and Reclaim Idaho’s initiative to restore Idaho’s petitioning requirements to the original 6% statewide standard.

Idaho Citizens Coalition Responds to Ontario’s Record Sales on Boise TV

Boise’s ABC affiliate KIVI-TV interviewed Idaho Citizens Coalition’s spokesperson Russ Belville at Boise Hemp World‘s Glenwood location regarding Ontario’s record $10.4 million sales in the month of March, mostly to Idahoans.

The numbers in Oregon have organizations like the Idaho Citizens Coalition for Cannabis pushing for legalization in Idaho, here is a recent poll on marijuana from the Hill-HarrisX.

“It’s pretty obvious that the southwestern Idaho area is what is supporting sales and what it tells me is that Idahoans are ready for legalized marijuana,” said Russ Belville of the Idaho Citizens Coalition for Cannabis. 

“The road to legalization here is much more difficult than probably any other state in the nation except maybe Kansas,” said Belville.

Idaho is currently in a strange situation because people in the Treasure Valley can travel a short distance and legally buy marijuana, but if they bring it back across the border they are breaking the law.

“I think that the people of Idaho would want to bring that tax money back,” said Belville. “They are bringing that marijuana back you might as well have that tax money.”

Idaho Citizens Coalition Helped Kill Constitutional Drug Prohibition

The defeat of Sen. C. Scott Grow’s SJR 101 and Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt’s HJR 4 in the Idaho House was a huge victory in protecting the right of Idahoans to petition for medical marijuana now and marijuana legalization in the future.

The Idaho Citizens Coalition—and your donations to it—had a lot to do with that.

When Sen. Grow began his crusade to place drug policy in the state constitution, his goal was clear: prevent the citizens of Idaho from legalizing marijuana by initiative, either medically or for all adults, as every other state in the West but Wyoming has done.

The Idaho Citizens Coalition informed our contacts at the national Marijuana Policy Project that the situation was dire and help was needed. They stepped up with the hire of a lobbyist to work this state legislative session, one who had already been a part of the 2015 session in maneuvering a medical CBD law through the legislature that was ultimately vetoed by the governor.

In coordination with the lobbyist, Idaho Citizens Coalition identified issues within the Republican caucus (the Democrats were all firmly against it) that could peel away members who’d normally support an anti-drug measure—the opioid overdose crisis and Idaho’s Right to Try law, a recently-passed measure that allows terminally ill patients to use drugs not yet approved by the FDA.

At the lobbyist’s request, Idaho Citizens Coalition created fact sheets on marijuana vs. opioids and the effect HJR 4 would have on the Right to Try law. The lobbyist then took those sheets to Republican members of the House during discussions on the issue.

We needed 12 Republican “no” votes. We got 16.

It would seem that Idaho Citizens Coalition’s talking points made it to the minds of some of the Republican legislators who voted “no.” A few of them were even echoed by the legislators in the debate. Here’s a few select quotes from House Republicans, followed by the text from the Idaho Citizens Coalition fact sheets:

“This bill, to me, is just an attack on marijuana,” said Rep. Christensen. “I mean, seriously, is methamphetamine gonna be legalized any time soon? … Marijuana’s not the big scary monster we’re making it out to be. Opiates, here, is the biggest issue for me.”

HJR 4 fights a battle that doesn’t exist. Nobody in Idaho is organizing to legalize drugs. The only organized effort in Idaho now is to legalize medical marijuana.

“I’m a cancer survivor,” said Rep. Boyle, “so when Right to Try came up, I thought this was fantastic. … I think there are a lot of substances that we are going to find in the future have other uses and I hate to limit them.”

HJR 4 declares that any drug in Schedule I or II as of July 1, 2021, can only be “made lawful for purposes of… possession or use” by a two-thirds vote of the legislature.

“My mother got hooked on OxyContin as a 70-plus-year-old,” Rep. Boyle continued. “We could not get her off of it because of pain issues. She ended up killing herself because of it.”

According to CDC, in 2018, Idaho providers wrote 61.9 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons compared to the average U.S. rate of 51.4 prescriptions. Opioid overdose deaths have been on a steady increase since 1999. Meanwhile, Oregon and Washington opioid overdoses are declining, and their prescription rates are near and below the national average.

“This takes law-abiding citizens and is going to turn them into criminals,” said Rep. Nichols. “[Patients] have gone through so much, and when they get to the point where they would rather die than continue living because the medications that they’re taking…. Right to Try was put in in 2018 and there was a reason for that… they need the ability to try what’s necessary… so that they’re not just having to take opioids.”

Idaho passed a Right to Try law that allows terminally ill patients to possess and use drugs not yet approved by the FDA but have passed Phase 1 clinical trials. Such trials include some currently illegal drugs, like psilocybin and MDMA.

“First of all, I haven’t heard any advocacy for recreational marijuana, or recreational meth, or recreational heroin, or any of that,” said Rep. Adams. “I haven’t heard that. What I have heard is that hey, maybe we need a medicinal path forward on cannabis. And you know what? There’s a ballot initiative for that, that they’re trying to collect signatures for. And if they get that, then the people will go to the polls and they’ll either vote yes or no. Why do we have to have two questions that ask the opposite side of the same question?”

Proponents of constitutional drug prohibition say it gives Idahoans a chance to determine Idaho’s future. However, if a proposed medical marijuana initiative and constitutional drug prohibition are on the same 2022 ballot, well-meaning Idahoans who support medical marijuana and oppose illegal drugs might not realize a vote for the prohibition trumps their vote for medical marijuana.

Following a question by Rep. Nichols on whether there’s been a legal review of how HJR 4 in the constitution would affect the Right to Try law in Idaho Code, Rep. Scott clarifies, “It’s to my understanding that there is a hierarchy of law and the constitution trumps our Idaho Code. And so if something’s in conflict, the constitution is number one and the code is number two.” Sponsor Rep. DeMordaunt did not have an answer and said it would be determined by the courts.

[Under HJR 4] possession or use of a controlled substance can only be made a “lawful activity” by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature. A terminal patient will have to wait for a legislative session and hope for a two-thirds vote before she passes away.

Idahoans should get a chance to vote on medical marijuana. Polls show three-quarters of Idahoans—including three-fifths of Mormons, Republicans, and seniors—support the issue. But if there’s a 50% vote for prohibition, it cancels any 75% vote for medical marijuana. That’s patently undemocratic.

The Idaho Citizens Coalition is only able to continue this research and publicize the results to our legislators and public alike through your donations. Please consider giving whatever you can to help us keep alive our mission to legalize marijuana in Idaho.

Compelling Debate Over Medical Marijuana in HJR 4’s Defeat

Betsy Russell at the Idaho Press has done a phenomenal job covering the Idaho Legislature. In her latest posting on the defeat of HJR 4, she included quotes from Rep. Mike Kingsley (R-Lewiston), the GOP proponent of the Sgt. Kitzhaber Medical Marijuana Act, that deserve a round of applause from our community.

The proposal drew bipartisan opposition, including from Rep. Mike Kingsley, R-Lewiston, who drew laughter when he said backers came to him, and “They said we’re going to get rid of psychotropic drugs in Idaho. And I said, finally, we’re getting rid of alcohol?”

“The people of Idaho overwhelmingly would like medical marijuana – it’s off the scales,” Kingsley told the House. “Idaho is the last state to just hold out to not give people medicine that they need for cancer, for nausea. There’s so many people that medical marijuana works for, especially people that have bowel issues and bowel cancers, because opiates are very constipating. … I’ve looked at this a lot, and nobody has ever overdosed on cannabis. Think about that. How many people have overdosed from opiates? … I’ve seen how detrimental this drug is to people, and here we can give people an alternative.”

He said in his hometown of Lewiston, he knows of a constituent who’s becoming a criminal by driving across the bridge to Clarkston to buy medicine that’s the only thing that will relieve the constituent’s cancer-ridden elderly mother’s pain. “We’re causing people in Idaho to be criminals who need the medicine, Kingsley said. “I cannot think of a better definition of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. That’s what this bill will do.”