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.
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.