No American Majority Supports Marijuana Prohibition Anymore

The only place in America you can find a demographic majority in support of jailing people for marijuana use is in the Idaho Legislature.

The national support for the legalization of marijuana for all adults reached a new record as the Quinnipiac University poll finds 69 percent in favor, with just 25 percent opposed.

Even more telling is that there is no longer any demographic group to be found in the crosstabs where a majority supports marijuana prohibition.

People over 65, the last holdouts against legalization, now support it at 51 percent, with 42 percent opposed—the highest level of opposition to be found in the poll. Republicans now support legalization at 62 percent, with independents at 67 percent. Every other demographic, be it college-educated or not, age 64 or younger, Hispanic, Black, or white, all supported legalization at about 70 percent or higher.

With the passage of marijuana legalization in New Mexico this week, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah stand alone as the only western states that have not legalized marijuana for all adults. But Utah does have a limited medical marijuana program and Wyoming does allow for the medicinal use of low-THC CBD oil, leaving Idaho as the only western state with no legal medicinal use of cannabis whatsoever.

Polls show the support for medical marijuana in Idaho is strong, with 78 percent of respondents who are informed about the details of the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act supporting the measure. Polling on legalization hasn’t been performed in Idaho lately, but polls in other similar, conservative, religious states are consistently showing majority support.

BREAKING: House Fails to Garner 2/3rd Majority on HJR 4, Idaho Marijuana Initiative Rights Saved

In a 42–28 vote, the Idaho House failed to garner the two-thirds majority necessary to forward constitutional amendment HJR 4 to the Senate for consideration, saving the right of Idahoans to run initiative petitions on the subject of legalizing drugs.

HJR 4 would have placed the illegality of Schedule I & II drugs, including marijuana, into the state constitution, where it would have been untouchable by citizen initiative.

During debate on the bill, many representatives made impassioned pleas in support of the bill, warning of the degradation that has befallen legal marijuana states, the devastation illegal drugs have wrought on friends and family, and the need to protect Idaho from big money out-of-state interests that want to legalize marijuana in Idaho for profit.

Opponents of the bill, which included more Republicans (16) than Democrats (12), responded with tales of friends and family responding positively to medical marijuana treatments elsewhere, worries that the bill would supersede the Right to Try law that allows terminal patients to use illegal drugs, and mentions of the bill’s true purpose in thwarting medical marijuana and CBD oil.

While the defeat of HJR 4 has saved the right to petition on marijuana policy, the ability to successfully exercise that right is still in danger. Soon, the House will vote on SB 1150, which would mandate that all petition signature gathering must take place on Idaho soil. This is clearly an attack on marijuana petitioning at the popular Oregon and Washington border town dispensaries where hundred of Idahoans a day visit to purchase legal marijuana that they then take home to smoke in Idaho.

Awaiting the governor’s signature or veto by Saturday morning at 11:10am is SB 1110, which would require all petitions to gather a 6% signature threshold in all 35 state legislative districts, a task so Herculean it may make any initiative impossible to quality without massive (out-of-state) funding.

In other marijuana legislation news, the House earlier passed HB 126, a bill that legalizes the farming, processing, and transporting of industrial hemp, so long as one possesses a license under the federal Farm Bill or a state plan that has yet to be developed. It most certainly does not legalize industrial hemp for the public. This was also a point of contention in debate over HJR 4: that its passage would make it far more difficult to finally make legal the less than 0.3% industrial hemp and CBD products that are legal in every other U.S. state.

Idaho Senate Passes Hemp Licensing Bill, Sends to Governor’s Desk

The state legislature has forwarded a hemp licensing bill, HB 126, to Gov. Little’s desk. As we have explained, this bill does not legalize industrial hemp; it merely provides an exemption from the criminal prosecution Idaho maintains for Schedule I tetrahydrocannabinols—even the less than 0.3 percent THC found in industrial hemp—if you have a hemp license.

The Idaho Senate voted 30-5 in favor of the industrial hemp legalization bill. HB 126 has already passed the House. It will now go to the governor’s office.

The law would change Idaho Code to differentiate industrial hemp from marijuana. It would do so by amending Idaho’s list of controlled substances to differentiate between hemp, which has no more than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and its more potent cousin. It would authorize the production, research, processing and transportation of industrial hemp by those licensed in Idaho, and allow the legal possession and transportation of the product in and through the state, the Idaho Press previously reported.

Idaho is currently the only state where hemp is illegal. Industrial hemp is used in a variety of products, from rope to clothing. Farmers across Idaho have expressed interest in growing this crop and the Idaho Farm Bureau supports the bill.

“I think this is good policy. It strikes the balance that we need to ensure that we’re protecting our drug policy but we’re also allowing our farmers the opportunity to grow this crop should they want to,” Sen. Abby Lee, R-Fruitland, said.

It couldn’t be any clearer than Sen. Lee’s statement. This isn’t a hemp legalization bill, it is a hemp exemption bill that still treats hemp as an illegal psychoactive drug if you lack a license.

Idaho Press: Legislators want fewer initiatives and fewer voters

As the clock ticks down to Saturday and the imminent signature on or veto of SB 1110 by Gov. Brad Little, newspapers from all across Idaho are calling out the undemocratic move by the legislature.

Sixteen thousand Idahoans signed a petition asking Governor Brad Little to veto SB 1110, which would make getting measures on Idaho ballots harder. He vetoed a similar bill in 2019. Will he veto this one?

Actually, the answer is unlikely to make a difference –SB1110 passed both legislative houses with enough votes to override a veto. Republicans split 26-2 in the Senate and 51-6 in the Senate. All Ada and Canyon County Republican representatives voted ‘aye” except Vanderwoude, who was absent.

Republican legislators have to be quite aware that they are taking rights from those who’ve voted for them. We couldn’t have 60% of voters supporting Medicaid Expansion and 60% supporting Republican candidates without considerable overlap.

In December 2019 BSU polled voters on this issue and found that 68% of Republicans believed the difficulty of getting an initiative on the ballot here was about right. Only 10% of all those polled supported making the process harder.

Two More Idaho Newspapers Rail Against SB 1110

It’s not just the readers of the newspapers any more, now the editorial boards of the newspapers themselves are urging Gov. Little to veto SB 1110.

Editorial: Give Idaho’s GOP the nightmare it dreads

Gov. Brad Little needs to do more than simply veto the Legislature’s latest attempt to curtail ordinary Idahoans’ ability to draft their own laws through the ballot initiative.

Because this measure cleared both the House and Senate overwhelmingly, Little’s veto could be overridden.

So sometime before Saturday’s deadline, the governor must fashion an argument that persuades at least a handful of Republicans to flip their votes and support him.

He has the perfect foil.

Reclaim Idaho’s Luke Mayville — one of the architects behind the successful 2018 Medicaid expansion — is out with the Initiative Rights Act, a new measure that would be headed toward the ballot if this current bill becomes law.

It rolls back the rules to 2012, when petition gatherers could round up 6 percent of the registered voters anywhere in the state — the system in place when Idaho voters rolled back the anti-teacher Luna laws. Concentrating signature-gathering in the urban centers would require less effort than building an organization throughout at least half of the state.

No king by committee

The bill is nothing less than undisguised and mean-spirited retribution against voters for approving a 2018 initiative to expand Medicaid in Idaho.

For seven years prior, Republican lawmakers had refused to accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion under Obamacare that would have provided health care for Idaho’s estimated 62,000 uninsured residents. It was partisan pique at its worst and most harmful.

Voters should tell the governor that he has their unequivocal support for halting the Legislature’s retributive rage. They should urge him to hit the stop button on the legislative shredder before their constitutional right to government “of the people, by the people and for the people” is mutilated.

Idaho doesn’t need a king, even a king by committee.

Bill to Ban Signature Gathering at Dispensaries Advances to House

On Tuesday, the House State Affairs Committee advanced SB 1150 to the House floor with a “do pass” recommendation. The bill has already passed the Senate with a 28–6 vote.

The bill would require anyone collecting signatures for an Idaho initiative to be physically within the state of Idaho while they do so.

In other words, this is a bill written specifically to prevent supporters of the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act from collecting signatures at the eight legal marijuana shops in Ontario, Oregon, or any of the border town dispensaries near Idaho, from the thousands of Idahoans shopping there weekly.

“In all candor, we don’t think that it is good public policy to be going outside the state of Idaho to gather signatures,” said Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa.

Why? Is an Idahoan no longer an Idahoan when they cross the border? Does their voter registration become invalid once they leave Idaho? Do their rights to petition under the Idaho Constitution become null and void if there isn’t Idaho soil under their feet?

Of course not. In fact, the rights of Idahoans to vote in Idaho elections are specifically protected through an absentee vote. Which begs the constitutional question: if Idahoans have the right to vote on an initiative when they are outside Idaho, why shouldn’t they be able to sign an initiative when they are outside Idaho?

The legislature fears the collection of hundreds of signatures a day from Idahoans who are sick of driving an hour or longer to access legal marijuana.

More than any other bill (aside from the HJR 4 amendment proposal) this session, SB 1150 is clearly an attack by the legislature specifically to derail our medical marijuana initiative. While SB 1110 would make our medical marijuana initiative harder to place on the ballot, it would have that effect on all initiatives. There are no other initiative subjects for which there is a large contingent of Idahoans outside the state eager to sign a petition like the thousands crossing the border to buy legal weed. While Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, who authored the bill, played ignorant about the purpose of her bill, other legislators aren’t so sly and openly admit the bill is designed to stop medical marijuana.

Whether the bill is passed and signed by the governor, it remains to be seen how it would be enforced. When petitions are turned in to the county clerks in Idaho, they contain up to 20 signatures from registered voters and a signature, notarized in Idaho, from the petitioner. There will be no way for the clerk to verify where those 20 people were standing when they signed the initiative. Idaho law enforcement has no jurisdiction to cross the border to surveil locations in Oregon or Washington that might collect signatures. Even if a concerned citizen witnessed out-of-state signature collection, videotaped it, and turned it into the authorities, that alone wouldn’t identify which petitions being turned in among a box of hundreds were collected out of state.

This session the Idaho Legislature has supported four bills to uphold criminal marijuana prohibition and rejected one bill to stop criminalizing medical marijuana patients:

  • SB 1110 Making all initiatives far harder to place—at Gov. Little’s desk;
  • SB 1150 Banning petitioning at pot dispensaries across the border—passed Senate, awaiting House vote;
  • HJR 4 Making marijuana initiatives impossible by banning drugs constitutionally—awaiting House vote;
  • HB 126 Hemp legalization that still criminally bans hemp without a license—awaiting House vote; and
  • HB 108 Medical marijuana legislation “stricter than Utah”—died in committee.

The ACLU of Idaho has vowed to sue over SB 1110 as a violation of Idahoans’ constitutional right to petition, arguing that making the statutory requirements so hard to achieve it amounts to a backdoor method of amending the constitution.

We feel that the same principle would apply to SB 1150—it attempts to subvert the constitutional petitioning rights of Idahoans by statute. Our constitution guarantees that we can both “propose” and “pass” initiatives. How can it be, then, that Idahoans living out of state could vote by absentee ballot to “pass” an initiative into law, but would be forbidden from initiating or signing a petition to “propose” a new law?

Survey: Only 1 in 10 Idahoans Believe in Spending More Tax Dollars Jailing First-Time Offenders

One short of three thousand Idahoans were taken to jail for possession of marijuana in 2018; just over six thousand were arrested in total.

The Idaho Public Policy Survey from Boise State University’s School of Public Service asked Idahoans questions regarding the funding of Idaho’s prison system, with only 10.1 percent agreeing that the state “should spend more money on our prison system so that first time criminal offenders can be kept away from the public longer.”

By contrast, a whopping 81.9 percent of Idahoans surveyed agreed that the state “should spend more money on finding effective education and treatment programs so that first time criminals leave and prison don’t commit new crimes.”

Even when considering repeat offenders, just 26.4 percent of Idahoans support spending more money on incarceration, with 65.7 percent preferring that Idaho spends more money on education and treatment programs.

Among the criminal offenders being jailed in Idaho are roughly 3,000 Idahoans taken to jail following a marijuana possession arrest, many who remain in jail when they are unable to make bail. Another 3,000 are summoned to court following a marijuana possession arrest. In both cases, all 6,000 face the possibility of imprisonment in the Idaho State Penitentiary for at least a year. While many will receive a deferred sentence in exchange for probation, they will all still lose their drivers’ licenses for six months, be subject to random urine testing, and be forced to pay fines and fees.

One simple way to ensure that Idaho tax dollars are spent on education, rehabilitating, or imprisoning real criminals is to stop the criminalization of marijuana smokers in Idaho. Even if legalization is a bridge too far too soon for most Idahoans, most of us agree that someone caught with pot is not a hardened criminal we must imprison for public safety.

In over half of the United States, you cannot be arrested for first-time possession of marijuana.

Idaho could take the step first taken by Oregon in 1973 by decriminalizing the personal possession of marijuana, treating it as an infraction worthy of a ticket and seizure of the contraband by police. Such a move would protect the thousands of Idahoans who cross the border and return with legal marijuana products without creating any commercial marijuana system (and its tax revenue) in Idaho while maintaining the ability of police to still fight large-scale marijuana trafficking and cultivation.

Idahoans Statewide Calling on Gov. Little to Veto SB 1110

As the clock runs down on the five days Gov. Little has to sign or veto the odious SB 1110 (creates 35-district signature requirement for initiatives), voices from all across the state are sounding off to urge his veto.

Call on Little to veto ill-conceived initiative bill

This bill and its sponsors are not even trying to hide this as a pure power grab away from the citizens of the state, or the fact it is being driven by large corporations and donors who want to make sure they can buy the votes of the legislature to get what they want and not allow the people any realistic means to bring forth any grass roots initiatives.  

This Bill and is an insult to democracy. Those who sponsored it and those who support it appear to want all power vested in them and them alone.  They know that the only way an initiative petition could ever get on the ballot by getting 6% of all 35 districts in Idaho would be by a well funded corporate entity, who apparently already own the sponsors and supporters of this bill.  

This Bill is exactly the reason the average person distrusts politicians and government processes. So often they espouse platitudes about “We the People” and “freedoms” and wrap themselves in our flag, but in the end they pass bills like SB1110 that eliminates the ability of the people to exercise those freedoms and steal the power of the people for themselves. Our representatives who support this should be ashamed of themselves and need to admit that they are little more than petty thieves of our democracy.    

PIERRE BORDENAVE

Sandpoint

Senate Bill 1110 will strip rural voters of their initiative rights

Idaho voters wrote the initiative and referendum into the Idaho Constitution in 1912 precisely to get around an unresponsive state Legislature. The move was prompted by experience in other states where legislatures were bought and paid for by railroads, oil companies and other powerful monopolies that were victimizing farmers. The farmers were not able to overcome the legions of lobbyists that the big money interests deployed in those legislatures, but the initiative and referendum gave them an avenue of relief — a legislative lifeline around legislatures controlled by special interests.

The supporters of the initiative-killing bill cannot point to any initiative or referendum that has ever discriminated against rural Idaho. After the Legislature stubbornly refused for years to accept millions of federal dollars to expand the state Medicaid program, people from Bonner County stepped forward with an initiative to get the job done.

While legislators claim the strict signature requirements will protect the rural population from citified people, the bill will give city dwellers a veto over any ballot measure that rural residents want. For example, the Legislature has refused for years to make the school funding formula fair for rural school districts. SB 1110 would make it impossible for country voters to cure the inequity with an initiative. In fact, any measure that would benefit rural Idaho could be kept off of the ballot by any one of a number of urban legislative districts under SB 1110.

Idaho voters must not reward their own suppression

Why would they do this? GOP politicians hold every statewide office in Idaho, control the entire federal delegation and 82% of the Legislature. If these GOP legislators truly represent a majority of Idahoans, why are they so afraid of your voice? If they are in fundamental agreement with voters, why work relentlessly to end the only mechanism whereby voters can directly pass a law?

The answer is: the GOP-dominated legislature does NOT represent the majority of Idahoans — not even close. The agenda of the GOP politicians running the state may mirror certain lobbyists’ wish lists, but it looks nothing like the agenda of most Idahoans, Democrat or Republican:

  • 77% of Idahoans support funding early childhood education. After blocking a vote on Pre-K for 8 years, 60% of House GOP members rejected a $6 million federal grant to develop early childhood education programs.
  • 61% of Idahoans wanted Medicaid expansion, but GOP legislators blocked a vote for seven years, and most House GOP members voted this session to defund it.
  • 72% of Idahoans support medical cannabis for seriously ill Idahoans, but 86% of Senate GOP members voted to constitutionally ban cannabis for any purpose.
  • 74.5% of Idahoans say their top priority is education. But GOP legislators have put us last in America in education funding, while instead doling out massive tax cuts to the wealthy.

No wonder GOP legislators want to end ballot initiatives, which uncomfortably expose the chasm between what Idahoans want and what they get from their special-interest-driven Legislature. Initiatives provide a path for the people to prevail over politicians, heaven forbid.

Rep. Ilana Rubel

SB1110

The Idaho Secretary of State’s website reflects 20,850 registered voters in Idaho’s Legislative District 27.  SB1110  requires 6% of the registered voters in each of Idaho’s 35 Legislative Districts to sign a petition in favor of any proposed citizen’s initiative in order for that initiative to be put to a statewide vote.  6% of District 27’s voters equal 1,251 voters.  If only 5% of District 27’s voters signed the petition (1,042 voters), that citizen’s initiative would fail across all 35 rural and urban districts. The 209 voters short of the required 6% in District 27 who chose not to involve themselves in the petition, no matter the subject of the petition, would result in all 1,056,796 of Idaho’s rural and urban voters not having any vote on the citizen’s initiative. SB1110, being marketed as protecting our rural population’s right to be heard, is nothing more than a sham by Idaho’s Legislature to virtually kill our constitutional right to a citizens initiative. SB1110 represents our authoritarian legislature’s continual efforts to deny Idaho’s citizen’s rights.

Tom Newton,

ACLU encourages Little veto

The American Civil Liberties Union is encouraging Governor Brad Little to veto SB 1110, new legislation that would restrict Idaho’s voter ballot initiative and referendum process. 

The law would require petitioners to obtain 6% of eligible voters from each of the state’s 35 legislative districts.

“Idahoans have a constitutional right to initiate legislation independent from the legislature,” said Lauren Bramwell, ACLU of Idaho Policy Strategist.  “This bill undermines that right, and will result in costly litigation.”

Former Justice Jim Jones speaks at Legislature, drops off 16,000 petitions to Gov. Little

In response to the Idaho House passage of SB1110, the bill that will place a severe restriction on Idaho’s ballot initiative process, former Justice Jim Jones held a short press conference this afternoon in front of the Office of the Governor and delivered 16,000 petition signatures asking the Governor to veto the bill. 

Idaho’s ballot initiative is an important constitutional right that should be protected – not hindered. The ballot initiative process gives Idahoans the right to vote directly on issues they care about. SB1110 is a dangerous attack on this constitutional right, and raising the requirement will allow only wealthy, special interest groups in securing enough signatures to get an initiative on the ballot. 

Voters can use the ballot initiative process as a safeguard against laws that oppress Idahoans, a legislature in the pocket of powerful interests, or politicians who refuse to act on behalf of the people. Undermining Idahoans’ ability to participate in this process undermines our ability to fight against special interests and corrupt politicians. Governor Brad Little has an obligation to defend and protect Idahoans’ constitutional rights.

ACLU of Idaho Calls on Gov. Little to Veto SB 1110

The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho has written to Gov. Brad Little to urge him to veto SB 1110, the bill that makes citizen initiatives nearly impossible in Idaho.

“SB 1110’s strict requirements will trigger litigation under the Idaho state constitution and First and Fourteenth Amendments,” ACLU warns. “SB 1110 would create the most onerous ballot initiative process in the country.”

ACLU also warns of the single-district veto loophole created by SB 1110. “A single legislative district,” ACLU writes, “should not have the power to thwart an otherwise successful campaign with broad geographic support.”

Group Seeks To Annex Eastern Oregon into “Greater Idaho”

Today two Oregon legislative committees held a joint hearing to review a presentation by a group that seeks to create “Greater Idaho” by annexing rural Eastern Oregon counties into the the state of Idaho.

And one of the motivating factors for its proponents is to “push Oregon’s drug laws farther from the county in Idaho where you live.” The Greater Idaho supporters claim with no evidence that “addicts will be attracted to Oregon from all over the world¹ by the 2020 drug decriminalization law” and that “normal rural Americans are outnumbered in Oregon.” A benefit of their proposal is that “it would change the Boise-Oregon drive time from 51 minutes to over 5 hours,” which can really only refer to the trip made by Boiseans to purchase legal marijuana in Ontario.

Why stop there? How about we just take every county in the West not on the coast or populated by Democrats and call the whole thing Conservatopia?

The far-fetched proposal would require that the state of Oregon agrees to cede the counties of Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, and Wheeler, plus portions of Wasco, Jefferson, and Deschutes counties, to the state of Idaho. Then the state of Idaho agrees to take them from Oregon. Then the federal government agrees to the agreement between Oregon and Idaho. Then the state of Idaho amends its constitution to change its borders. See, easy!

In selling the proposal to Oregonians, the Greater Idaho proponents note that Oregon lacks a state property tax, so the legislature shouldn’t be concerned about the loss of land. They also note that the counties leaving for Greater Idaho would be the poorer ones, freeing Oregon from the burden of caring for them.

But the Greater Idaho proponents clearly have a blind spot when it comes to Oregon counties and their love of legal marijuana tax revenue.

Hey, Malheur County! Wanna join Idaho? It’ll only cost you $300,000 / month in lost tax revenue, the shutdown of eight businesses and the jobs they’ll shed, a new 6% tax on every sale made in the city, and the loss of about 90% of your daily shopping traffic. But at least cigarettes will be cheaper and anybody can concealed carry a handgun without a license.

In their FAQ, when the question of Eastern and Southern Oregon counties losing their access to legal cannabis comes up, they state that “CBD and hemp products are available in Idaho stores,” but only with “no detectable THC.” In a flight of fancy, they even predict, “If rural Oregon… joins Idaho, the state representatives from those places might help legalize marijuana in Idaho.”

Every red county was against Oregon’s marijuana legalization with 55% or more of the vote.

That’s extremely doubtful. The proponents themselves are clear that their goal is the establishment of a more conservative state of Idaho, one where the increasingly liberal population of Boise will be overwhelmed by additional rural conservative votes. Eastern Oregon counties so famously objected to the passage of marijuana legalization in 2014 they demanded a custom law allowing them to maintain bans on marijuana businesses.

Meanwhile, the expansion of Idaho’s border would instantly render marijuana illegal in the former Oregon counties. The localities included in the full counties to be absorbed into Idaho would instantly lose $7.8 million in yearly marijuana tax revenue. The state of Oregon would love an additional $44.4 million annually.

Then there would be the loss of the licensed marijuana businesses. There are 460 licensed growers in Jackson and Josephine counties alone, 510 total in the counties that would be immediately illegal in Greater Idaho. Another five laboratories, 60 processors, 45 wholesalers, and 145 retail shops would have to shut down. Thousands of new Greater Idahoans would be out of a job. Oregon would lose out on the relicensing fees from 765 marijuana licensees, at between $1,000 and $5,750 per license.

Finally, there would be an untold number of new Greater Idahoans who would suddenly be felons for the personal cannabis gardens of four plants or fewer they maintain in their residences.

The carceral and financial implications of the sudden return to marijuana prohibition in Eastern and Southern Oregon are far too great for Oregon to ever agree to the Greater Idaho proposal.


¹ Like there’s somebody with a crippling dependency on heroin in Bangladesh who sees the news of Oregon’s drug decriminalization, saves up all his money, gets a passport, buys a plane ticket, and flies to Portland to live on the streets, when that person could have just flown to Portugal anytime in the past two decades and experienced drug decriminalization there.

Coeur d’Alene Press: POT: And now, some facts

The Coeur d’Alene Press has printed our response to the reefer mad op-ed we posted last week.

The “Don’t let legalized pot get foothold in Idaho” op-ed from April 7 was a refreshing blast from the past. We haven’t read reefer madness like that since the 20th century.

We haven’t enough word count to fully debunk all of the falsehoods (e.g., marijuana’s not more addictive than booze) and half-truths (e.g., yes, marijuana can cause bronchitis, but not lung cancer) contained in the piece, but you can find our full review online.

Suffice to say, 17 states have moved from medical marijuana to legalization. There are 36 states that have adopted medical marijuana laws. Every state but Idaho has adopted hemp CBD laws.

If marijuana legalization was the devastating policy choice the author argues, wouldn’t at least one of these states have repealed one of these laws by now?

The author warns that approving medical marijuana will just lead to legalization. How? Well, through the approval of voters or the Legislature. So, again, if medical marijuana turned out to be a disaster for Idaho, why would voters then go ahead with full legalization?

Nobody is arguing that marijuana is harmless, though it is far less harmful than alcohol, tobacco, and most other drugs. We are arguing that marijuana is here in Idaho; 200,000 of us use it regularly, and we shouldn’t be jailed over it any more than a responsible beer drinker or cigar smoker should be jailed for their unhealthy habits.

RUSS BELVILLE

Spokesperson

Idaho Citizens Coalition for Cannabis

It’s Time to Kill SB 1110 (35 District Signature Requirement)

SB 1110, the bill designed to make it nearly impossible to qualify an initiative for the ballot, has passed both chambers of the legislature and now awaits the governor’s signature.

CALL GOV. BRAD LITTLE’S OFFICE AT (208) 334-2100 OR EMAIL HIM DIRECTLY USING THIS FORM. TELL HIM TO VETO SB 1110.

SB 1110 changes the signature requirements to qualify an initiative for the ballot. Currently, a campaign has two thresholds to clear: collecting 6 percent of registered voters’ signatures in 18 of 35 legislative districts, and collecting 6 percent of registered voters’ signatures statewide. SB 1110 does away with the statewide requirement while increasing the district requirement to include all 35 districts.

Proponents argue that this makes initiatives campaign to get statewide support before appearing on the ballot. In reality, that’s already the case, as every initiative that has qualified and won under these rules has garnered support from every corner of the state. Besides, statewide support is reflected in the statewide vote for an initiative once it makes the ballot.

SB 1110’s true intention is to provide a single-district veto loophole. If a measure did gather 6 percent of signatures from all 35 districts, opponents would only need to target the district with the lowest signature count with an aggressive “take your signature off” campaign to shave enough signatures off the total to drop that single district below 6 percent. Once that one district falls, the whole initiative falls, despite its support in the other 34 districts.

What’s worse is that opponents would have a much easier time securing the single-district veto than supporters would securing 35 districts. Supporters have to collect all the signatures across 35 districts in person over eighteen months, whereas opponents could have a single district remove their signatures by email in less than a week.

SB 1110 creates a scenario where it is literally possible for proponents to gather 100,000 signatures in person over eighteen months to qualify a measure, only to have opponents sink the whole measure in a week with 100 emails requesting a signature removal in a single district.

Finally, SB 1110 declares an emergency and goes into effect upon passage. That means the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act that is already gathering signatures under the 18 district rule will have to now operate under the 35 district rule. Only Gov. Little can stop it now with a veto, and even then, the legislature passed the bill with a a supermajority that could override his veto, if they have enough time left in the session.