24-Hour Dispensary to Open on Idaho’s Southern Border

It’s almost time to highlight that southernmost leaf with yellow…

Southern Idahoans who enjoy casino gambling have long been taking the “fun bus” on the road trip just 45 minutes south of Twin Falls to Jackpot. This tiny Nevada border town exists solely because of gambling, with four casinos, a hotel, a couple of motels and gas stations, and a gold course being the entire extent of the town.

And starting this September? A 24-hour marijuana shop. The Associated Press reports:

Thrive Cannabis Marketplace in mid-September is opening a dispensary in Jackpot, Nevada, about 45 miles (72 kilometers) south of Twin Falls, Idaho.

Twin Falls County Commissioner Don Hall said he’s concerned about marijuana-using drivers on the road that connect the two cities.

“This could affect the highway between Jackpot and Twin Falls County and the citizens that utilize that road,” Hall said.

Twin Falls County Sheriff Tom Carter said deputies have been sent to drug recognition school to spot drivers operating under the influence of marijuana. U.S. Highway 93 connects the two cities.

Bordertown dispensaries have been open in Ontario, Oregon, since July 2019. There has been no appreciable increase in traffic incidents on the Interstate 84 or the U.S. Highway 26 that lead from Ontario to the Treasure Valley. There’s no reason to think there will be any problems on U.S. Highway 93, either.

But it will mean that Idaho State Police and Twin Falls County Sheriff’s deputies will make a habit of finding any pretext necessary to pull over vehicles flowing northbound from Jackpot in the hopes of running a K-9 around the car to manufacture the excuse needed to abrogate Idahoans’ 4th & 5th Amendment rights and engage in a roadside search of their vehicles and persons. Just like Idaho State Police, Payette County Sheriffs, and Canyon Country Sheriffs do on the roads back from Ontario.

Then, on January 1st, Montana’s recreational law goes into effect. We can’t exactly predict where and when their shops will open, but our map above has scoped out some of the nearest border towns where marijuana shops would thrive on Idaho customers (our bet is on West Yellowstone, Montana, just up the way from the Pocatello/Idaho Falls metro, and a popular tourist destination to boot).

Trying to keep marijuana out of Idaho through criminal prohibition is increasingly becoming an untenable position for the state. Arrests keep rising, but sales to Idahoans remain steady. It’s time for Idaho to recognize that at least 185,000 Idaho adults enjoy cannabis responsibly and shouldn’t be penalized for purchasing it legally.

Our PAMDA initiative—Personal Adult Marijuana Decriminalization Act—would simply legalize the act of driving to one of these legal pot shops across the border, bringing back a personal amount of marijuana in sealed containers with the proof of purchase, and possessing and using that marijuana only on private property with the permission of the owner.

Idaho is in a unique position to be able to end the senseless, harmful arrests of its adult citizens for using marijuana without having to contend with the commercialization, cultivation, and bureaucracy of managing a retail marijuana system. We can let our neighboring states endure those headaches and let our marijuana-using adults—many of them medical marijuana patients—purchase marijuana across the border and use it responsibly at home.

To be clear: PAMDA only allows personal private use of legally purchased marijuana. Growing marijuana would remain illegal. Marijuana stored would remain illegal. Use by minors would remain illegal. Marijuana not purchased out-of-state legally would remain illegal. Driving under the influence would remain illegal. Marijuana possession or use in public would remain illegal. We’re literally just asking the state to let adults use legal marijuana responsibly in their own homes.

Bill Colley: “I really don’t care if you smoke [marijuana] at home.”

In an op-ed published on Boise’s FOX News Radio 1310 KLIX, columnist Bill Colley, an opponent of marijuana legalization, warns about the imminent opening of legal marijuana dispensaries in Jackpot, Nevada, just 45 minutes south of Twin Falls, Idaho.

“Traffic between the city and Jackpot, Nevada is going to greatly increase,” Colley writes. “This happened between Boise and Ontario, Oregon when dispensaries opened in the latter.”

“People aren’t embarrassed by their marijuana use.  It almost seems they’re proud users.”

FOX News Radio 1310 KLIX columnist Bill Colley

He explained what everybody already knows—that most of the shoppers at Ontario’s nine marijuana shops are Idahoans. Jackpot will offer another stark example of a small town drawing in mostly Idaho shoppers for legal marijuana.

What is shocking to Colley, though, is that none of those Idahoans seemed to care that he was surveilling them.

“I walked inside with a camera around my neck.  I had been visible taking pictures outside.  Nobody appeared to pay me any attention.  In other words, people aren’t embarrassed by their marijuana use.  It almost seems they’re proud users.”

“I really don’t care if you smoke at home.”

FOX News Radio 1310 KLIX columnist Bill Colley

Why would adults in Oregon be embarrassed about being seen at a legal marijuana business? Does Colley think Idahoans seen walking out of liquor stores and tobacco shops should be embarrassed by their drinking and smoking? Does he think they should be embarrassed that they have to drive sometimes as long as five hours one way just to purchase something legally adults in every other western state can purchase?

What is shocking to us, though, is that Colley thinks law enforcement shares his opinion of adult marijuana smokers.

“People get the impression I’m the Torquemada of marijuana opposition.  I really don’t care if you smoke at home.  I’m opposed to kids being exposed and I don’t want you driving until your head clears.  Many people in law enforcement share my view.”

We’ve heard a version of this before, mostly from national prohibition leader Kevin Sabet. “I really don’t care if you smoke marijuana at home,” they say, always leaving unsaid the “but we have to keep marijuana illegal because” before moving on to the twin pillars of prohibition, “What About The Children?!” and “Stoned Mayhem On Freeways!!”

“Many people in law enforcement share my view.”

FOX News Radio 1310 KLIX columnist Bill Colley

If cops and Colley don’t care if we smoke marijuana at home here in Idaho, why not get onboard with our PAMDA initiative that would legalize just—and only—that? We can leave the pot shops and the home grows and the marijuana industry outside our borders and we can stop wasting law enforcement’s time with adult Idahoans who just want to smoke marijuana at home.

The fears of exposure to children are unfounded. None of our western neighbors that have legalized marijuana have recorded significant increases in teen marijuana use. Initial problems with marijuana edibles and children are being addressed through regulation. Keeping marijuana illegal for adults doesn’t stop kids from accessing marijuana and making marijuana legal for adults doesn’t help kids access marijuana.

The fears of danger on the roadways are overblown. None of our western neighbors than have legalized marijuana are recording any changes to traffic fatalities not also seen nationwide. After correcting for age and gender, marijuana-using drivers are no more likely to crash than sober drivers. Keeping marijuana illegal for adults doesn’t stop impaired driving and making marijuana legal for adults doesn’t increase impaired driving.

The fact is that Idaho’s marijuana prohibition is untenable as legal marijuana shops open up on all its borders. Whether we think it is moral or not to cross the border, buy marijuana legally, and smuggle it back home, thousands of Idaho adults are doing it. More will join them as shops open nearer them. Even more will join when federal marijuana prohibition soon falls.

The only question is whether we think it is moral to have police searching for them, stopping them, circling their car with drug dogs, pulling them from the car, ransacking their belongings, seating them in handcuffs on the side of the road, hauling them off to the station, fingerprinting them, taking their mug shot, keeping them in a holding cell, perhaps with violent criminals, forcing them to try to come up with hundreds of dollars for bail, strip searching them for a longer stay if they can’t make bail, keeping them in a cell until their trial, arranging their plea deal on paraphernalia and possession charges, fining them hundreds of dollars, making them perform roadside litter cleanup, and branding them a “drug criminal” for the rest of their lives, hampering their ability to get education, social services, employment, and housing, all because they would rather smoke a joint at home than drink a beer?

IdahoCann Launches PAMDA with IdahoWay.org

Even Wyoming’s legislature debated legalizing marijuana last session.

The Idaho Citizens Coalition (IdahoCann) announces the submission of the final text for the Personal Adult Marijuana Decriminalization Act (PAMDA), an initiative for the November 2022 ballot that would create a narrow exception to Idaho criminal law for the personal, private use of marijuana legally purchased in another state.

To support the initiative, a new website called IdahoWay.org has been launched.

“PAMDA is the Idaho Way to legalize marijuana,” says spokesperson Russ Belville. “Idaho is unique in that we are surrounded by states with functioning or soon-to-be functioning retail marijuana markets. Already Idaho adults drive as far as five hours one way to buy marijuana legally in Oregon or Washington, and soon, Nevada and Montana. PAMDA would just legalize the drive home for those adults to use a personal amount of marijuana in private at their home or private property with permission of the owner.”

PAMDA declares that a personal amount of marijuana is three ounces, which is the limit of Idaho’s current misdemeanor possession charge. PAMDA defines personal use as adults 21 and older using less than three ounces of marijuana on private property with permission of the owner. PAMDA only protects the transport of personal amounts of marijuana purchased legally in another state—black market marijuana would still be illegal. Any marijuana activities outside these narrow confines —such as cultivation, commercial sales, large-scale trafficking, and use by minors—sill still fall under Idaho’s criminal code.

“PAMDA takes care of the medical marijuana issue by legalizing what Idaho patients are doing now—crossing the border to buy medicine and bringing it home to use it,” continued Belville. “But PAMDA doesn’t force us to create a whole medical marijuana bureaucracy or force anyone to pretend they’re sick if they just want to use marijuana responsibly in private at home.”

The PAMDA initiative’s signature drive will begin shortly, after the Secretary of State has determined the official long and short ballot titles. The campaign will need to meet a threshold of signatures equal to 6 percent of the registered voters from the last gubernatorial election in each of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts. Under these new rules passed just this May, each district will need to provide between 1,400 and 3,000 signatures—a daunting task for some of those remote, rural districts—for a total of just under 65,000 signatures statewide by May 1`, 2022.

However, the Idaho Supreme Court is currently mulling a lawsuit by Reclaim Idaho over the new 35-district rule as being unconstitutional by legislating away our petitioning rights by making the qualifications near impossible to meet. A ruling is expected before the end of the month. Should Reclaim Idaho prevail, PAMDA will need to collect the 6 percent threshold in just 18 of the 35 districts.

Ontario, Oregon, Marijuana Sales Down Third Straight Month

Idaho’s $168,000,000 Gift to the City of Ontario

Idahoans buy almost all of the over $9 million of marijuana sold every month on average in Ontario… then they bring it back to Idaho to smoke. If Idaho’s going to have the smoking, why not have the taxes, too?

Data from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission show that for the month on June 2021, marijuana shops in Malheur County sold almost $8.8 million in marijuana products.

This marks the third straight month sales have declined following the record sales month of almost $10.4 million in March 2021.

Ontario, Oregon, is the only city within Malheur County that allows for marijuana shops. The sales decline comes even as a ninth marijuana dispensary, Elevation 2150′, opened up on the city’s west end.

Ontario’s sales place Malheur County fourth in the state after Multnomah, Washington, and Lane Counties, homes to Portland, Beaverton, and Eugene, respectively. Thus, Malheur retains the crown as the top sales county per capital, with over $14 in marijuana sales per adult.

Of course, the per capita figures hide the true source of Ontario’s marijuana purchases—the over 750,000-population Boise Greater Metropolitan Area, who account for roughly 90 percent of the city’s marijuana sales.

The Lodge/Crane Idaho Marijuana Petition Station

CountySignatures
Ada211
Adams1
Bannock8
Bingham1
Blaine3
Boise1
Bonneville3
Canyon146
Caribou2
Cassia1
Elmore6
Franklin1
Gem9
Gooding`1
Jefferson2
Jerome3
Minidoka2
Owyhee16
Payette17
Twin Falls9
Valley2
Washington3
22
Counties
447
Signatures
Signature tally from this one station as of July 10, 2021. See our map of Idaho petition stations near you.

With Connecticut, More Legal States Now Than Medical States in 2012

The governor of Connecticut signed legislation making the Nutmeg State the 19th state since 2012 to legalize the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana by adults 21 and older.

There are more legal marijuana states now than there were medical marijuana states when Colorado and Washington first legalized.

It took sixteen years from the first medical marijuana state (California) in 1996 to reach 18 (Massachusetts) medical marijuana states following the 2012 election. It has taken just nine years from the first legal marijuana states (Colorado & Washington) to reach 18 (New York), and now, 19 legal marijuana states.

What a Difference a Decade Makes!

Move slider to compare. Only most favorable law shown (i.e. Oregon is drug decrim, legal marijuana, and medical marijuana). Decrim states not outlined once they become legal marijuana states.

There are now 144 million Americans living in the 19 legal states and Washington D.C., which makes 44.2% of the total population. If we include states that have decriminalized at least the first offense of possessing a small amount of marijuana, like most recently, Louisiana, there are almost 200 million Americans living free from the fear of arrest and jail time for holding a joint in their pocket.

Only 9% of Americans Support Idaho’s Absolute Marijuana Prohibition

We’re closing in on ten years of state marijuana legalization and none of them seem to want to repeal it.

The pace of marijuana reform is accelerating with the pace of public opinion. Support for marijuana legalization has only climbed since more states have legalized, reaching supermajority status in the polls taken this decade.

All this change leaves Idaho in an increasingly untenable position. Only nine percent of Americans polled believe that marijuana should be treated like Idaho does, with arrests and jail time for even medical users of cannabis.

Wyoming Libertarians File Medical Marijuana and Decriminalization Initiatives

On Friday, the Wyoming Libertarian Party and Libertarian state Rep. Marshall Burt filed two initiative petitions to end adult marijuana prohibition in the Equality State.

The first initiative is the Wyoming Cannabis Patient Act of 2022. it would allow qualifying patients to possess up to four ounces of marijuana and 20 grams of marijuana-infused products in a 30 day period. Patients (or their caregivers) could also cultivate up to eight mature cannabis plants.

To qualify, a physician must recommend cannabis to the patient for the treatment of any of a number of qualifying conditions (see below).

In addition, there would be the establishment of a commercial system to cultivate, process, and sell marijuana to qualifying patients.

The second initiative is the Wyoming Cannabis Amendments, which is an act to decriminalize the possession of four ounces of marijuana by adults. A first or second offense would be subject only to a $50 fine, while third and subsequent offenses would be punished by a $75 fine. Cultivating cannabis plants would be subject only to a $200 fine.

Interestingly, as written the measure also applies that $200 fine to the cultivation of peyote and opium poppy, but the Libertarians tell Marijuana Moment that language is an oversight that will soon be corrected. There is also no number of cannabis plants specified to trigger the fine; under current Wyoming law, cultivating any number of cannabis plants receives the same misdemeanor penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Comparing Idaho & Wyoming Marijuana Reform Efforts

What a Difference a Decade Makes!

Move slider to compare. Only most favorable law shown (i.e. Oregon is drug decrim, legal marijuana, and medical marijuana). Decrim states not outlined once they become legal marijuana states.

Both Intermountain West states of Idaho & Wyoming stand among the few that still maintain criminal penalties for even medical use of cannabis. There are some notable similarities and differences between the two states’ efforts.

Signature Requirements: Idahoans have two-and-a-half months more time than Wyomingites, but have to collect over 50 percent more signatures.

  • Idaho activists need to collect 64,946 signatures by May 1, 2022.
  • Wyoming activists need to collect 41,775 signatures by Feb 14, 2022.

Geographic Distribution: Both states require that signatures come from all over the state. Interestingly, Wyoming uses a county-based method similar to one that was declared unconstitutional in Idaho, and Idaho’s new 35-district requirement is currently the subject of a lawsuit to be heard June 29 by the Idaho Supreme Court.

  • Idaho’s medical initiative must collect at least 6 percent of the signatures of the voters from last election from each of 18 legislative districts, and the decriminalization initiative must collect at least 6 percent from each of all 35 state legislative districts.
  • Wyoming’s initiatives must collect at least 15 percent of the signatures of the voters from the last election from each of 16 of the state’s 23 counties.

Single Subject Statutes: Both states’ citizens cannot propose constitutional amendments. The statutory initiatives proposed must only cover a single subject. In Nebraska, another state with a single subject rule, an initiative to legalize medical marijuana similar to the Wyoming and Idaho proposals was ruled by the state Supreme Court to be two subjects—allowing for physicians recommendations to possess marijuana and creating a commercial marijuana distribution system.

Subject Restrictions: Wyoming voters may not dictate how revenues are to be accrued or distributed. Thus, unlike the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act, Wyoming’s medical initiative cannot set a tax rate or dedicate tax revenue to specific programs.

Petitioner Requirements: In both states, petition circulators may be paid on a per-signature basis, but who can be a circulator varies.

  • Idaho’s circulators must be Idaho residents (but not necessarily U.S. citizens) at least 18 years of age. There is no requirement to identify paid signature gatherers.
  • Wyoming’s circulators must be U.S. citizens (but not necessarily Wyoming residents). If paid, circulators must indicate that in large red letters at the top of their petition.

Electronic Signatures: Idaho specifically mandates that signatures must be made on paper in person. There is no such mandate in Wyoming, but the legality of electronic signatures has not yet been affirmed, either.

Passing the Initiatives: In Idaho, if an initiative gets more yes votes than no votes, it becomes law. In Wyoming, an initiative must get 50-percent-plus-1 of all the votes cast in that election—for instance, if there were 49,000 votes for the initiative and 48,999 against it, but 100,000 people voted in the election, the initiative would lose. It needed 50,001 (half of 100,000 plus 1) to pass and the 2,001 voters who didn’t bother to vote on the initiative, but voted on other items, helped the initiative to lose.

Effective Date: Wyoming’s initiatives, if passed, would take effect about four months earlier than Idaho’s.

  • Idaho’s initiatives can take effect no earlier than July 1, 2023.
  • Wyoming’s initiatives will take effect three months after certification of the election results (mid-February 2023).

Initiative Protections: Wyoming voters have substantially more protection of their newly-passed initiatives, but also face a roadblock if their initiatives fail that Idahoans do not face.

  • Idaho initiatives may be repealed or amended by the legislature. Failed initiatives may be re-submitted in the next election cycle.
  • Wyoming initiatives may be amended by the legislature, but may not be repealed for two years. Failed initiatives may not be re-submitted for five years.

Medical Marijuana Conditions: Both states are proposing similar qualifying conditions for the use of cannabis, including cancer, glaucoma, positive status for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Tourette syndrome, cachexia, post-traumatic stress disorder, seizures, including those that are characteristic of epilepsy, or persistent muscle spasms including those that are characteristic of multiple sclerosis.

  • Idaho-only conditions include inflammatory bowel disease, Huntington’s disease, wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, and terminal patients with 12 months or fewer to live.
  • Wyoming-only conditions include Parkinson’s disease, sickle-cell anemia, ulcerative colitis, dementia, anxiety, autism, opiate dependency, migraines, any chronic movement disorder, intractable pain, daily nausea, and any terminal patient or person with a terminal condition.

Medical Marijuana Use: Both states are proposing a four ounce limit for marijuana possession, but Wyoming is also proposing a 20 gram limit for marijuana-infused products. Both states would create a system of medical marijuana dispensaries. Idaho has more restriction on cannabis cultivation.

  • Idaho patients will be allowed to cultivate up to six cannabis plants if they can demonstrate a hardship (financial or distance to a dispensary, for instance).
  • Wyoming patients will be allowed to cultivate up to eight cannabis plants.

Decriminalization: Wyoming’s effort is more of a standard decriminalization that establishes fines for certain amounts of marijuana possession. Idaho’s effort is better defined as the legalization of possession of legally-purchased marijuana on private property that maintains criminality of marijuana possession in every other circumstance.

  • Idahoans could possess up to three ounces of legally-purchased marijuana on private property with permission of the owner. Cultivation of cannabis and possession of marijuana anywhere but private property with permission of the owner remain crimes.
  • Wyomingites could possess up to four ounces of any marijuana anywhere, but would face $50 fines for first and second offenses, and $75 for every subsequent offense. Cannabis cultivation would be subject to a $200 fine.

Protections for Marijuana Use: Wyoming’s initiatives are largely silent on protecting citizens who use marijuana. Idaho’s initiatives will protect the employment, housing, educational, child custody, parenting, medical treatment, and firearms rights of Idahoans who use marijuana legally.

Idaho Activists File Personal Adult Marijuana Decriminalization Initiative

This afternoon, The Idaho Citizens Coalition turned in the initial twenty signatures of registered Idaho voters to begin the process of placing a marijuana decriminalization measure on the November 2022 ballot.

The Personal Adult Marijuana Decriminalization Act (PAMDA) if passed would only protect adults 21 and older from search, seizure, and arrest for the possession and use of up to three ounces of marijuana on private property with permission of the owner. PAMDA would also protect adults while transporting the marijuana they have purchased legally out-of-state from the store to their private property.

Outside the scope of personal use of private property, marijuana possession will still be treated as a criminal misdemeanor. So, for instance, someone who purchases marijuana in Ontario, Oregon, or Spokane, Washington, and then drives it back to their home in Boise or Coeur d’Alene would be safe from law enforcement, but if that person was caught with that marijuana in public, it would still be a crime.

“What we intend to do with PAMDA is to ‘legalize the drive,'” said Russ Belville, spokesman for the Idaho Citizens Coalition and Chief Petitioner of the measure. “Everyone knows Idahoans are driving across the border and bringing back home with them about $10 million worth of marijuana a month from legal stores. Every purchase in Oregon or Washington is a purchase not made from illegal marijuana dealers in Idaho and we should incentivize that, not penalize that.”

PAMDA creates no pot shops in Idaho, creates no marijuana grows in Idaho, and establishes no new bureaucracy in Idaho. “From our polling on medical marijuana, we found the people of Idaho are wary of home cannabis gardens and the corrupting influence of big marijuana businesses,” Belville explained. “But we’ve also found that Idahoans are huge supporters of personal privacy and keeping the government out of people’s personal lives. We feel PAMDA strikes the right balance by keeping marijuana grows, stores, dealing, and advertising illegal, while respecting the privacy of Idaho adults who simply prefer a joint over a beer when they want to relax at home.”

PAMDA is also meant to act as a backup for the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act (IMMA) that is currently circulating. IMMA would legalize medical marijuana possession of four ounces, allow certain patients with hardships to cultivate six cannabis plants, and establish a system of commercial grows, processors, and dispensaries, similar to most medical marijuana states.

“We are still wholeheartedly in support of medical marijuana for Idaho,” said Belville, “and will be collecting signatures for both initiatives in the field.”

But the IMMA faces a potential roadblock in the form of a new ‘single subject rule’ the Idaho Legislature established for initiatives in 2020. A similar rule in Nebraska caused their state Supreme Court to remove their medical marijuana initiative that had already made the ballot. The Court decided that allowing patients to have medical marijuana and giving patients a place to buy medical marijuana were two separate subjects.

“We’re worried about the ‘single subject rule’ invalidating the IMMA, since it, like Nebraska’s 2020 initiative, provides medical marijuana possession and medical marijuana commerce,” said Belville. “Should someone sue and Idaho’s Supreme Court make a similar decision, we’ll have PAMDA ready to go, which is clearly a single subject initiative.”

But PAMDA starts with a hurdle that IMMA doesn’t have to face—statewide approval. In April, the Idaho Legislature passed a new law requiring initiatives to gather signatures equaling six percent of the registered voters in each of all thirty-five state legislative districts, a Herculean task. By contrast, IMMA was filed in February, so it still must comport with the previous law requiring six percent in just eighteen of thirty-five districts.

“I won’t lie; the 35-district rule will make it all but impossible to place PAMDA on the ballot,” Belville opined. “However, the state is being sued over that rule by Reclaim Idaho, the group that placed and passed the only successful initiative since the 18-district rule was implemented. Should their suit succeed, we’d be subject to either the previous 18-district rule or, if we’re lucky, the court invalidates all district requirements and returns Idaho to the original standard of six percent statewide, regardless of district. In either of those cases, we feel our chances of making the ballot with PAMDA are solid.”

PAMDA and IMMA will both need to collect 64,946 signatures and meet their legislative district thresholds by May 1, 2022, to make the ballot. Learn more about the PAMDA initiative here.

Ontario Marijuana Sales Decline for 2nd Straight Month

Idaho’s $168,000,000 Gift to the City of Ontario

Idahoans buy almost all of the over $9 million of marijuana sold every month on average in Ontario… then they bring it back to Idaho to smoke. If Idaho’s going to have the smoking, why not have the taxes, too?

Data from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission shows that legal marijuana shops in Ontario, Oregon, sold $9.6 million of marijuana products to adults in the month of May 2021.

That represents the second straight month of decline following the record $10.4 million sales in Malheur County in the month of March.

Within Malheur County, only Ontario allows for marijuana sales. But that may be changing next year. Activists with Legalize Malheur have submitted an initiative to end the sales ban in the unincorporated areas of Malheur County.

If approved, the Legalize Malheur initiative would appear on the November 2022 ballot and open up the opportunity to place a marijuana shop across the border from Weiser, Idaho, in an unincorporated village called Annex, as well as the outskirts of Ontario’s east side on Highway 201.

Another Oregon border town, Nyssa, is an incorporated community. Its ban on marijuana sales would remain regardless of the passage of the Legalize Malheur initiative. However, those activists are also considering a Legalize Nyssa initiative, which would bring marijuana shops that much closer to the towns in southwest Canyon County.

It’s well known that the bulk of marijuana purchases in Ontario are made by Idahoans. During our signature collection for the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act at one of Ontario’s shops, we saw Idahoans from at least sixteen different counties, even as far away as Jefferson County, a five hour one-way drive.

With Oregon’s twenty percent tax on marijuana sales, in 2021 alone Idahoans have contributed the bulk of $9.5 million in tax revenue to the Beaver State, with $1.4 million going directly to the city of Ontario. How much longer will Idaho continue to pour tax revenue into other states?

Idaho Farm Bureau Predicts Hemp Crops by 2022 Planting Season

Hemp Field

The Idaho Legislature passed and Governor Little signed into law HB 126, the bill that ends Idaho’s status as the last political jurisdiction in all North America to forbid all cultivation of industrial hemp. Now the Idaho Farm Bureau is laying out the schedule it believes will lead to the first legal hemp crops in Idaho since 1936.

House Bill 126 directs the ISDA to begin formulating a state hemp plan through the state’s negotiated rulemaking process, which allows anyone interested in participating to do so.

The state ag department immediately began planning for that process after the governor signed the bill into law. To find out more information about how to participate in the hemp rulemaking process, visit the ISDA website – agri.idaho.gov/main/ – and click on the hemp link on the left side of the page.

The first rulemaking meeting is June 23 and the second is June 30. Details on how to participate can be found on the ISDA’s hemp webpage.

After receiving public input, the ISDA will put together a state hemp plan that follows federal guidelines for industrial hemp. That plan needs to be approved by the governor and the director of the Idaho State Police.

Idaho’s hemp plan needs to be wrapped up and submitted to USDA by Sept. 1. The plan will also need to be approved by state lawmakers during the 2022 legislative session, which begins next January.

Remember, HB 126 did not legalize hemp. It legalized hemp with a license, and those licenses aren’t coming until next year. Anything you possess with THC in it—even hemp with <0.3% THC—is still marijuana in Idaho if you don’t have a license for it.

Over 200 Signatures for Idaho Medical Marijuana Initiative Collected in Ontario, Oregon in May

In its first two weeks of operation, The Lodge/Crane Idaho Marijuana Petitioning Station has collected over 200 signatures from registered Idaho voters for the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act initiative petition.

The Station is located in the lobby of the Treasure Valley Cannabis Company at 560 SE 12th Ave in Ontario, Oregon. It is named for Idaho State Senator Patti Anne Lodge, who introduced SB 1150, a bill to make out-of-state signature gathering illegal, and State Representative Brent Crane, who amended SB 1150 to make an exception for missionaries and the military.

The over two hundred Idahoans who have signed in Oregon are voters who may never have been reached by the Kind Idaho campaign to put IMMA on the ballot. That Idaho’s Senate and House both voted to disenfranchise them, only to be saved by Gov. Little’s veto, is inexcusable, but unsurprising for a body so reefer mad it voted to enshrine marijuana prohibition in the state constitution, barely failing to reach a needed two-thirds majority in the House.

These voters also show just how much Idahoans want to obey the law when it comes to marijuana. Those over 200 Idahoans come from over one-third of Idaho’s counties. Some people signing have driven from three to five hours one way to get to Ontario to purchase marijuana legally and sign the petition. It’s not as if there are no black market marijuana dealers in these counties, but Idahoans are willing to spend the money and time to drive across the state to shop in a safe, secure location; where IDs are strictly checked and no minors allowed; where there is a greater variety of products for sale and they are tested and labeled; even if they have to face a harrowing drive back home in fear of the police pulling them over.

Idaho’s $168,000,000 Gift to the City of Ontario

Idahoans buy almost all of the over $9 million of marijuana sold every month on average in Ontario… then they bring it back to Idaho to smoke. If Idaho’s going to have the smoking, why not have the taxes, too?

Those 200 voters are quite willing to spend one out of five of their dollars in Ontario to benefit the city and the state in the form of marijuana taxes. The nine shops in Ontario are selling $10 million of marijuana products every month. That’s $2 million every month that mostly Idahoans are contributing in tax revenue to Ontario and Oregon when they buy marijuana.

They’re not smoking that marijuana in Oregon, though. Idaho gets all the marijuana smoking and Oregon gets all the marijuana taxes. Then Idaho spends tax money arresting and jailing the few people they catch (a year’s worth of pot arrests equals about a week’s worth of Ontario shoppers), doing absolutely nothing to reduce the trafficking of legal marijuana from Oregon (sales have increased quarterly since July 2019).

The Lodge/Crane Station will continue operating at the Treasure Valley Cannabis Company all summer long. As we get more volunteers to man the station (sign up here), we’ll be able to expand the days and hours to collect more signatures. For now, the usual days will be Wednesday through Saturday, 2pm to 6pm, but check the Events on our Facebook page to be certain.

The Lodge/Crane Idaho Marijuana Petition Station

CountySignatures
Ada211
Adams1
Bannock8
Bingham1
Blaine3
Boise1
Bonneville3
Canyon146
Caribou2
Cassia1
Elmore6
Franklin1
Gem9
Gooding`1
Jefferson2
Jerome3
Minidoka2
Owyhee16
Payette17
Twin Falls9
Valley2
Washington3
22
Counties
447
Signatures
Signature tally from this one station as of July 10, 2021. See our map of Idaho petition stations near you.

Two-Thirds of Utahns Support Marijuana Legalization

red rocks
Photo by Chris Janda on Pexels.com

Well, it’s happened. They went and legalized medical marijuana in Utah in 2018 and now, two out of three residents of the Beehive State want to legalize marijuana for everyone.

According to new polling released Tuesday by the U.S. Cannabis Council, 66 percent of Utahns surveyed “support federal cannabis legalization generally.” Support was higher among voters surveyed in West Virginia (70 percent) and Arizona (72 percent), two more traditionally conservative states.

It’s becoming difficult to find anyone anywhere who supports continuing adult marijuana prohibition. Recent surveys by Pew Research show only 8 percent of Americans support an absolute marijuana prohibition like Idaho’s. According to Quinnipiac University, even people over age 65, the last holdouts against legalization, now support it by 51 percent.

One would think that the devastating effects of legalizing medical marijuana predicted by people like Idaho State Sen. C. Scott Grow would manifest in the people of Utah rejecting calls for marijuana legalization. Yet, in state after state, both red and blue, voters and legislatures are legalizing medical marijuana and then going on to legalize recreational marijuana.

That’s because the predictions never pan out. Medical marijuana gets legalized and the state goes on. Businesses and jobs get created and patients begin shopping and growing. States make money on taxes, licenses, and fees. Nothing else changes much.

Some of those states then realize that nothing else would change much if they just expanded “medical” to mean “everybody” and dispense with the cards and conditions, aside from raising even more revenue and creating more jobs and businesses.

Idaho Taxpayers Get to Pay High-Priced Lawyers to Defend Taking Away Their Initiative Rights

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A stunning bit of reporting from Betsy Russell in the Idaho Press illustrates the asymmetric nature of the War on Drugs. The legislature gets paid by us Idaho taxpayers to write a bill, SB 1110, that virtually eliminates our right to propose initiatives and referenda.

In response, the people (in the form of Reclaim Idaho and the Committee to Protect and Defend the Idaho Constitution), then have to raise the money to sue the state of Idaho for infringing on our constitutional rights.

The State of Idaho gets to defend itself against the lawsuit through the Office of Attorney General, also paid for by taxpayers’ dollars. That we’re on the hook for attorney rates that range from $57.88 to $88.00 per hour to defend a law that takes away our rights is one thing to accept.

But what if on top of that, we had to pay another set of private attorneys $470 per hour to defend the same case?

At the request of legislative leaders, the Idaho Supreme Court has agreed to allow the Legislature to intervene as a party in two lawsuits challenging a restrictive new voter initiative law, which means the taxpayers will pay for two separate legal teams to defend the same law in each case.

The state is represented by the Idaho Attorney General’s office, which is defending the newly signed law, SB 1110. Now, the Legislature also is represented by its private attorneys, led by William G. Myers III of the firm Holland & Hart.

State lawmakers this year approved an additional $4 million in taxpayer funding for the Legislative Legal Defense Fund, which is split between the House and Senate and in which the House portion this year had dropped to a zero balance. Myers has been representing the Legislature in numerous matters; according to public records obtained by the Idaho Press, the Legislature has been paying him an hourly rate of $470.

Must be nice to be able to use the people’s own money to take rights from the people, who then have to spend more money to sue for their rights, then you can use more of their money to defend taking their rights and then use much more of their money to defend taking their rights.

This is why we reject every prohibitionist who wails about how much money we raise in state legalization campaigns, complaining that their anti-marijuana campaigns get outspent. They always forget about the limitless resources the state has to enforce prohibition and pass laws.