HJR 4, the proposed constitutional amendment by Sen. C. Scott Grow, is being prepared for a vote this week in the legislature. If passed, this would be placed on the November 2022 ballot for voters to approve. If a majority approve it, it would make it impossible for Idahoans to ever run an initiative legalizing marijuana or any other Schedule I or Schedule II drug, instead leaving any legalization up to a two-thirds vote of the legislature.
We received the following request from Rep. Mike Kingsley (R-Lewiston), one of the sponsors of the Sgt. Kitzhaber Medical Marijuana Bill that died in the House, asking you to please help:
In the Idaho House, HJR-4 is close to getting to the stage of being voted on. The opposition has worked very hard for the past 4 weeks on getting people to co-sponsor this legislation. I have been working the other side, we have 12 Democratic votes but need 14 Republicans to kill this bill. Unfortunately this is going to be close.
What would really help us is that we hear from people via email about the benefits of medical marijuana, especially the studies that have been done around the decline of use of Opiates in States that have medical marijuana, also how HJR 4 would create a massive back log in our courts for people simply crossing the border to get needed medicine for cancer patients or other suffering.
Idaho legislators need to listen to the people, I don’t know the latest polling but read one that nationally has medical marijuana at over 90%.
Anyway we could sure use help in these next few days with emails to help kill HJR4 before the vote to Idaho House Legislators. It could come up as soon as Monday or Tuesday, I am sure when they have enough co-sponsors they will vote.
As you write to your rep, remember that they think they are voting to stop “illegal drugs.” Let them know you have no interest in other drugs, just the medical marijuana that improves your well-being. Nobody in Idaho is trying to legalize anything else.
Remember, SB 1110 has passed an awaits the governor’s signature; if he signs and it survives court challenges, our road to medical marijuana legalization has to go through all 35 legislative districts, not just half of them.
And if the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act does make the ballot, if HJR 4 is on that same ballot, not only do we have to win the medical marijuana vote, we also have to defeat HJR 4. Since it is a constitutional amendment, if it even barely wins by 50.01 percent, our medical marijuana initiative loses, even if it got 100 percent of the vote.
That’s how important it is for you to call and write your representatives today. The future of all marijuana reform in the state of Idaho rests on this vote.
Well, Idahoans, after contributing to an average of $8.5 million in marijuana sales per month over the past year in the tiny border town of Ontario, and setting a new monthly record of $10.4 million last month, the town is sprouting yet another legal pot shop, which will be the town’s ninth.
This one will be called “Elevation 2150′” and is located in the strip mall at the corner of SE 4th Ave and Hwy 201, on the east side of town by the airport. It will be the first dispensary directly accessibly via the US 26 route that comes up from southwestern Canyon County through Nyssa, Oregon.
Ontario is the only town in Malheur County that allows for marijuana sales. Following legislation in 2015, any county in Oregon that voted against 2014’s legalization initiative at over 55 percent has an automatic ban on marijuana sales. That ban can then be overturned at the county or city level through an initiative.
In 2016, residents of tiny little Huntington in Baker County (the next county after Malheur westbound on Interstate 84 from Idaho) overturned their ban on pot shops. Three shops were quickly opened and the town began booming from all the Idaho traffic.
Facing desperate financial straits, in 2018 the people of City of Ontario and Malheur County circulated petitions to end the pot shop bans in the the city and county, respectively. The county measure failed to collect enough signatures, but the city measure did and passed overwhelmingly.
In July 2019 the first Ontario pot shop was opened. Since then, the eight current stores have sold over $140 million in marijuana products.
Now there is a movement afoot to retry the county-wide initiative, so unincorporated areas of Malheur County, such as the Annex village that sits right across the Idaho border from the town of Weiser, or the town of Nyssa, right across the border from Homedale area.
So long as Idaho maintains its antiquated marijuana prohibition, counties and towns on the border will continue to siphon tax dollars from Idahoans. City leaders in Jackpot, Nevada, are close to approving two pot shop licenses on the border to serve the Twin Falls metro area. Montana has recently legalized and there are five small towns on the major routes that cross over from Idaho where entrepreneurs are sure to set up marijuana shops. There has even been slight movement in Wyoming to legalize, where there are three border towns with easy access from Southeast Idaho.
At this point, Idaho, you are never going to stop your residents from accessing legal marijuana shops and bring marijuana back home to smoke. The only question is how soon you recover from your reefer madness and learn to keep the marijuana tax dollars for yourself.
Many of our supporters’ signatures are on this petition!
NAMPA, Idaho (AP) — A former Idaho Supreme Court justice has delivered a petition to the governor’s office with more than 16,000 signatures that urges him to veto a bill that would make it more difficult to put voter initiatives on the ballot.
“I think it’s constitutionally deficient,” former Justice Jim Jones said. “The people are supposedly the ones who have the power under the Idaho Constitution. They granted themselves the power to initiate legislation and to kill bills that the Senate and the House adopted … Now the Legislature is essentially trying to make it impossible for the people to execute their legislative power.”
The petition was the result of a campaign from Reclaim Idaho, Conservation Voters for Idaho and other organizations. The signatures represent Idaho residents from 44 counties and 200 different towns and cities.
Back in February, the Casper (Wyoming) Police Department (CPD) was awarded a $35,000 grant from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The grant was part of the DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication / Suppression Program, which the CPD announced on Facebook is part of the DEA’s efforts to “to halt the spread of cannabis cultivation in the United States.
The grant is to be used to pay the overtime for officers when they “are directly involved in the eradication and suppression of illicit cannabis,” according to a memo from Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters.
Last week, officers put that grant money to work in a 14-hour binge of 389 traffic stops between March 29 and 30. What did they get for their efforts to, as DEA puts it, “exclusively target Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO) involved in cannabis cultivation?”
One driver who was trafficking one pound of marijuana.
Other drivers were caught with pot as well. The next greatest amount was someone who had two ounces of marijuana, 600 milligrams of THC in edibles, and a gram of cocaine.
Beyond that, just ten more grams of marijuana and 1 gram of extract were found in any other vehicles, as well as 67 grams of methamphetamine. There were thirteen arrests for drugs total, seven of those arrests for marijuana.
In other words, DEA managed to catch one driver in 389 stops who was actually trafficking what would be considered a dealer’s amount of marijuana, and at least one driver in possession of dealer’s amounts of meth, and eleven drivers possessing user amounts of marijuana and cocaine.
Was it worth it?
It’s not as if the Casper PD pulled over 389 drivers and only busted the ones with drugs. They also gave out 115 tickets for speeding, moving violations, and failure to wear seat belts. The increase in public safety and the revenue from the fines those tickets generate could be an argument for spending $35,000 taxpayer dollars to go after marijuana cultivators.
But that’s the regular job of the Casper PD, paid for by the taxpayers of Wyoming. This operation is funded by U.S. taxpayers and is intended to target drug trafficking, specifically marijuana. Solely in those terms of return on investment for the drug seizures, the Casper PD operation was a waste of taxpayer money.
A pound of quality marijuana, wholesale, goes for about $2,000. Add on the remaining two or more ounces, the extracts, and the edibles and call it $3,000. The 19 or so 8-balls (eighth-ounces) of meth would be about $3,800. The gram of cocaine costs about $120. Round the whole shebang up to $7,000.
The DEA could have spent one-fifth of that $35,000 grant just buying the drugs off the street.
Wyoming is one of the few states left where the DEA can spend this cannabis eradication money. It’s already stretching the definitions to grant money to enforce traffic stops as a way of eradication cannabis cultivation. It’s not like there are any cannabis gardens in vehicles, after all.
But these kinds of traffic stop grants couldn’t be conducted in any of the states with medical cannabis programs that allow patients to possess cannabis flower, for the federal government is barred from spending money to interfere with medical marijuana states.
Wyoming’s ready for legalization
Even as the Casper PD burns through U.S. tax dollars going after folks for pot, the people of Wyoming are ready to end its prohibition.
Last December, the university of Wyoming released a survey showing 54 percent of the state’s residents want marijuana legalized for adult use. Seventy-five percent do not believe cannabis consumers caught by police should be jailed (also known as “decriminalization”). Eighty-five percent support the legalization of cannabis for medicinal use.
The groundswell of support is so great it’s caused Republicans in the Wyoming legislature to debut their own legalization bill in hopes of passing a marijuana legalization regime more conservative than citizens might pass as an initiative. The bill even advanced out of committee before dying in the House.
Wyoming is one of the U.S. states that have passed a medical hemp CBD law. It’s quite restrictive; only intractable epilepsy qualifies, only oil is allowed and it must contain less than 0.3 percent THC and must contain more than 15 percent CBD by volume. There is also a “hemp extract ID card” a patient with epilepsy must acquire from the state Department of Health.
Wyoming is also into its second season of legal hemp farming, though more than 1-in-4 farmers’ crops are failures because they test with a THC level higher than 0.3 percent, rendering them by law marijuana that must be destroyed. And unlike the recently-passed hemp bill in the Idaho legislature, under Wyoming law, “the possession, purchase, sale, transportation and use of hemp and hemp products by any person is allowable without restriction.”
Otherwise, Wyoming is a lot like Idaho in its criminalization of cannabis consumers. Where Idaho can jail you three months for merely being high in public, in Wyoming you can land six months in jail. They are the only two states left where just having marijuana in your system is a crime since South Dakota and New Jersey have legalized marijuana.
Now that SB 1110 is heading to Gov. Little’s desk, he has five days to sign it, let it become law without his signature, or veto it. The Senate passed it 26–9, the House passed it 58–18, both large enough margins to override a veto—assuming they’d have the time left to get around to it. If it becomes law and survives inevitable court challenges, Luke Mayville and Reclaim Idaho are stepping forward with a ballot initiative that wouldn’t just undo SB 1110, it would return Idaho back to having no legislative district requirement, just the 6 percent statewide requirement of the original law.
The new initiative hopes to beat those odds by restoring the initiative rights of Idaho citizens.
“If a highly motivated group of citizens in North Idaho or Eastern Idaho wants to place an initiative on the ballot, they shouldn’t be required to collect large numbers of signatures from all 13 of the districts in Ada and Canyon counties,” said Luke Mayville, founder of Reclaim Idaho. “It’s hard enough to collect signatures from 6% of the state’s registered voters.”
Mayville emphasized that Reclaim Idaho will only campaign for the passage of the Initiative Rights Act in the event that Senate Bill 1110 becomes law and survives court challenges:
The irony, of course, is that if SB 1110 is law, Reclaim Idaho’s petition will need to collect 6 percent of signatures in all 35 districts to qualify an initiative that says there should be no district requirement. Should that pass, voters statewide will have passed an initiative that says you don’t need signatures of voters statewide to approve an initiative. By making Idaho’s already tough requirements much harder, the legislature may succeed in provoking Idahoans into making Idaho’s requirements much easier.
Today in a 30–5 vote the Idaho Senate passed HB 126, an industrial hemp licensing bill, that now awaits the governor’s signature.
Idaho is the last of the fifty states to regulate any production of industrial hemp, legalized under federal law as cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC.
But to be clear: this is a hemp licensing bill. This is not a hemp legalization bill. This does not in any way legalize the possession of hemp by average Idahoans. In fact, it specifically maintains criminal marijuana penalties for hemp (or hemp CBD oil) possession, even if it is less than 0.3% THC.
The devil is in the details. The bill amends the definition of marijuana [§37-2701(t)] such that industrial hemp is defined as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC and that marijuana doesn’t include “hemp possessed… pursuant to a license granted under the provisions of the 2014 farm bill, the 2018 farm bill… or the approved state plan for the state of Idaho.”
That means you can’t be prosecuted for marijuana crimes if the marijuana you possess is less than 0.3% THC if you have a license.
Anything “that does not meet the definition of ‘industrial hemp'”—that is any cannabis over 0.3% THC—is marijuana and you go to jail for possessing it. Anything under 0.3% THC “that is possessed without a license” is marijuana and you go to jail for possessing it.
In a sense, Idaho’s hemp bill is like a medical marijuana law. In medical marijuana states, marijuana’s not legal, but if you possess a special license, you can’t be arrested for it. The same goes here: hemp is not legal, but if you possess a special license, you can’t be arrested for it.
We look forward to Idaho farmers cultivating and processing hemp. If they grow for textile hemp or seed oil hemp, they could even process that into building materials, plastics, soaps, and foodstuffs. But if they grow hemp for CBD flower to produce medicinal CBD oils, they will have the added expense of removing the 0.3% THC from the oil before they can sell it in Idaho. If they grow straight low-THC CBD oil or low-THC CBD prerolled joints, they will have to export those products, as they will still be illegal “marijuana” in the state of Idaho.
We are aware that numerous convenience and tobacco stores throughout the Treasure Valley are already selling CBD oil and CBD prerolls that contain hemp-levels of THC. Don’t be fooled into thinking these products are legal now or have ever been legal. If it contains THC in Idaho, and you don’t have a hemp license, you are in possession of marijuana and can be arrested. Just because law enforcement has been complacent about not busting these stores doesn’t mean they would be so complacent if you, for example, lit up a hemp preroll at a 4/20 rally at the state capitol at high noon.
We’ve been trying to get a handle on just how much money Idahoans are spending on legal marijuana at the shops across the western border in Oregon and Washington.
Figuring out the Oregon numbers are pretty easy. Only Ontario is sitting on the Idaho border and selling marijuana. The eight shops there brought in almost $10.4 million in sales in March. Ontario only has 11,000 people and its county only 30,000, so clearly most of the sales in Ontario are being made to Idahoans. One city councilor estimated Idahoans make 90% of the purchases there.
On the Washington side, however, the figures are bit more difficult to tease out. Lewiston and Moscow, Idaho, are both college towns with about 30,000 population that have sister cities of Clarkston and Pullman, Washington, respectively, that are roughly the same size. The Coeur d’Alene, Idaho metro area blends into the far larger Spokane, Washington metro area. Ione, Washington, is a small mountain town that’s a bit of a drive from the far northern towns of Sandpoint and Priest River.
So, to try to discern the Idaho shoppers in Washington, we took a look at the dispensaries closest to the Idaho border. For Spokane, Pullman, and Clarkston, those are the shops within 3.5 miles (straight line) to the Idaho border. We also included the shop in Ione, 18 miles from the border, as it is the nearest shop to the panhandle counties of Bonner and Boundary.
Certainly not all sales at these border shops are to Idahoans, but it stands to reason that the ones nearest Idaho should have the most Idaho shoppers. We’ll take the entire sales figure from those shops as Idahoans, figuring the non-Idahoans who shop there are outmatched by the Idahoans who shop further across the state line in Spokane and Pullman. We’ll figure the same for Ontario’s dispensaries, that some Idahoans shop farther in-state in Huntington and Baker to make up for the Ontario residents shopping at home.
Marijuana Shop (within 3.5mi of Idaho border, except Ione at 18 mi)
Last Month’s Sales (in thousands)
WASHINGTON TOTAL (latest data)
Feb 2021 = $3,754
IONE (Pend Orielle)
SPOKANE (Nirvana Cannabis)
SPOKANE (Cannabis & Glass)
SPOKANE (Apex Cannabis)
SPOKANE (Primo Cannabis)
PULLMAN (Floyd’s Cannabis)
PULLMAN (Happy Time)
CLARKSTON (Sativa Sisters)
OREGON TOTAL (latest data)
Mar 2021 = $10,369
IDAHO WESTERN BORDER TOTAL
And coming soon, legal pot shops in Jackpot, Nevada, to serve the Twin Falls shoppers. By next year, border shops in Montana to serve the Southeastern Idaho shoppers.
That brings us to a total of over $14 million dollars in marijuana products being purchased in Oregon and Washington by Idahoans who bring their marijuana back home.
In terms of tax revenue, Oregon taxes marijuana at 20%, so that state has raised $2 million in taxes from Idahoans per month. Washington taxes marijuana at 37%, so that state has raised almost $1.4 million in taxes from Idahoans per month.
If these sales stay consistent—and they won’t, they’re only rising—Idahoans will have contributed over $40 million in tax revenue in 2021 to its neighbors to the west.
This week we visited all eight of the legal marijuana shops in Ontario, Oregon, to drop off our flyer for the 4/20 Rally at the Capitol. While making the rounds, we saw the parking lots filled with cars bearing Idaho plates—mostly 1P (Payette County), 2C (Canyon), and 1A (Ada) plates.
We figure that many Idaho visitors aren’t completely familiar with all eight of the legal marijuana shops or the two paraphernalia shops, so we have developed this route for Idahoans unfamiliar with Ontario to efficiently visit each one of these ten marijuana shopping destinations.
Remember, it is only legal for adults aged 21 years and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower. So, when you visit each of the eight dispensaries, make sure to only purchase one-eighth ounce. If you try to purchase one ounce at each dispensary, you will be breaking the law, even though none of those dispensaries is tracking and sharing how much marijuana you buy from the other dispensaries.
Also remember to consume your eight eighths of marijuana while you’re in Ontario or elsewhere in Oregon. You can only do so legally on the private property of someone who allows it, so long as your use cannot be viewed by the public. If you take any of that marijuana back into Idaho, you will be breaking Idaho, Oregon, and federal law. And don’t forget that marijuana paraphernalia, especially if used, is illegal in Idaho as well, so be sure to throw your glass purchases away before you cross the state line.
Head westbound on Interstate 84 to Ontario, Oregon. Take EXIT 376A for Ontario, turn right onto E Idaho Ave. WEEDOLOGY (591 E Idaho Ave) will be about two blocks down the road.
Continue west on E Idaho Ave, turn right on SE 2nd St. THE BUD HOUSE (115 NE 2nd St) will be one block down the road at NE 1st Ave. (This is as close as you’ll get to OLD SCHOOL HAND BLOWN GLASS (281 S Oregon St) downtown. To get there take E Idaho Ave under the underpass, then your first left on S Oregon St., it will be three blocks down.)
Head south on SE 2nd St. It will slightly curve left at SE 9th Ave. Turn left on SE 12th Ave. TREASURE VALLEY CANNABIS COMPANY (560 SE 12th Ave) will be at the end of the block.
Continue on SE 12th Ave. Turn left on SE 6th St. Turn left at SE 9th Ave. Turn right at SE 5th St. Follow the curve right to SE 5th Ave. Turn left on SE 10th St. TOP CROP ONTARIO (297 SE 10th St) will be a block down the road on the left.
Return back down SE 10th St. Turn left toward the overpass. Turn left at SE 13th St (first left after overpass). Turn right on SE 1st Ave. ZION CANNABIS DISPENSARY (340 SE 13th St) will be on your right,
Continue down SE 1st Ave. Take the jog to the right to cut through the Waremart parking lot. Take a right at the next road, East Ln N. CANNABIS & GLASS (182 East Ln) will be to your left (continue down to the next shopping center and you can visit THE HAPPY HIPPY (490 East Ln) for glass purchases).
Turn back north on East Ln N until you reach E Idaho Ave. Turn left, then turn right at the next light (Goodfellow St). HOT BOX FARMS (325 NE Goodfellow St) will be at the end of E Idaho Ave. at NE 3rd Ave.
Return south on Goodfellow St until you reach E Idaho Ave. Turn right, then take the next right for the freeway exit toward Baker City (westbound). Get off on Exit 374. Take a right on Hwy 201. BURNT RIVER FARMS (1055 NW Washington Ave.) will be on the right in the Love’s Truck Stop travel plaza.
Turn right out of the parking lot, right again on Hwy 201, and take the freeway onramp eastbound to return to Idaho after waiting four hours after consuming all your marijuana products out of public view on someone’s private property with their permission.
By a vote of 58–18 the Idaho House today passed SB 1110. The bill increases Idaho’s signature gathering requirements for citizen initiatives.
Currently, initiatives like the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act must meet two benchmarks: they must collect a 6% threshold in 18 of 35 legislative districts and they must collect a 6% threshold from the state as a whole.
SB 1110 changes that the law by canceling the statewide requirement of 6% and increasing the 6% requirement of districts to include all 35.
Takes Initiatives From Difficult to Almost Impossible
The practical effect of SB 1110 is to take a process that is already one of the most difficult in the nation and make it nigh impossible. No other state in the country requires assent from all of its statewide districts to approve a statutory initiative for the ballot (Colorado does require it for a constitutional amendment, which Idahoans cannot propose).
Collecting signatures from a small area urban district like #16 that spans only 9 square miles is far easier and cheaper than collecting from a rural wilderness district like #8 that spans over 15,000 square miles. SB 1110 virtually guarantees that only a well-funded professional campaign will be able to meet the thresholds.
Might Be Unconstitutional
It may also be unconstitutional. Idaho’s previous geographic requirement law mandated collecting signatures from 22 of its 44 counties. That was declared unconstitutional because counties are of differing populations, making each signature differ in value based on the county it comes from, violating the principle of “one person, one vote” that requires our votes be of equal value.
The legislature in 2013 thought it cleverly avoided the 14th Amendment issues by mandating the 18 of 35 districts rule. Districts, you see, are required to be within a small margin of equal population across the state. Theoretically, each signature gathered within the 6% share of voters in each district should be of constitutionally equal value.
But in actuality, that’s not the case. The 6% threshold isn’t based on the population of the districts but rather their population of registered voters. With a requirement of just 18 districts, one can ignore the outliers and conclude that signatures are of equal weight. But requiring all the districts highlights how #14 requires 3,009 signatures to reach 6% while #27 needs just 1,309—making a signature from #27 over twice as valuable to a campaign as one from #14.
Creates Single-District Veto Loophole
Another odious aspect of SB 1110 is that it creates a backdoor method by which opponents of a popular measure can effectively veto it by lobbying just one district. Opponents need simply tally the signatures gathered in all 35 districts to identify a district or two where the margin of support is the leanest, then target that district with a “remove your signature” campaign to drop the district to below the 6% threshold. With one district below 6%, the initiative is squashed, even if the other 34 districts are far above 6%.
SB 1110 has already passed the Idaho Senate, so it now heads to Gov. Brad Little’s desk. However, there is a good chance he will veto the bill. In 2019, the legislature passed two similar, though less restrictive bills that he vetoed, citing concerns that the “liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals” could invalidate the current geographic requirements. When asked about his stand on the more restrictive SB 1110, Gov. Little directed the public to return to his 2019 veto statement.
The Coeur d’Alene Press has published an op-ed from an Athol resident entitled, “Don’t let legalized pot get foothold in Idaho.” It is such a shotgun scattering of every debunked anti-marijuana talking point that listing them all here should provide a good primer for our audience on how to respond to the falsehoods and mischaracterizations our opponents are bound to throw at us.
In every state that has legalized, it started first with legalization of CBD oil, (which Idaho was late in doing); then it moved to legalization of medicinal marijuana, and finally to recreational marijuana. There is a system being used; nothing is ever achieved without methodology and slippery slopes.
FALSE Legalization of (low-THC) CBD oil began with Utah in 2014, so none of the medical or legal states before then could have possibly started with CBD. South Dakota in 2020 leapt straight from prohibition to legalization in one election without going through medical marijuana first.
But to the point: is there a “slippery slope?” Well, if there is a natural progression from CBD to medical marijuana to legalization, it is because once exposed to a form of legalized cannabis, a state’s voters see the sky doesn’t fall, so they’re more receptive to further reform.
Flip it around. If CBD were so terrible, wouldn’t a state then learn its lesson and reject medical marijuana? If medical marijuana were so terrible, wouldn’t a state then learn its lesson and reject legalization? If legalization were so terrible, wouldn’t a state then learn its lesson and repeal it?
Proponents of marijuana love to say that cannabis is safer than alcohol. This has long been the popular refrain, but it is statistically and scientifically untrue. There are two main points to demonstrate the false argument comparing alcohol to pot. Alcohol is NOT as addictive. Studies have proven marijuana far more addictive. There is a degree of control that can be maintained with alcohol, that is not found with marijuana.
According to a study from 2015 published in the journal Scientific Reports that compared relative harms of drugs, “alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and heroin fall into the “high risk” category… the rest of the compounds except THC fall into the “risk” category… and cannabis (low risk).”
Marijuana is Not Harmless, But it is Less Harmful
The author next cites numerous harms from marijuana she cribbed from an article in the Heritage Foundation.
Before we debunk them, let’s remember that marijuana is not harmless. It can cause problems for some people. But even if marijuana were as harmful as alcohol or tobacco, that doesn’t mean we should lock people up over it.
Marijuana impairs the ability of T-cells in the lungs’ immune system to fight off infections. (Like we need lower immune systems, at this time in our history.)
MISLEAD At this time in history, there is promising research showing that CBD may be an effective support drug against COVID–19.
Marijuana use impairs short-term memory, making it difficult to learn and retain information.
Cannabis alters moods, resulting in artificial euphoria, calmness, but sometimes turning to anxiety, or paranoia.
OPINION What is “artificial” euphoria? One feels euphoria or one doesn’t. “Artificial” seems to connote a value judgment here.
TRUE Anxiety and paranoia can occasionally happen. A good remedy for this is to sniff peppercorns (seriously) if you feel that onset of anxiety. Using strains higher in CBD or supplementing one’s cannabis with CBD can help as well.
Marijuana has toxic properties that can result in birth defects, pain, respiratory system damage, brain damage, and stroke.
It causes cognitive degradation – think early onset dementia.
FALSE It most certainly does not—think Dr. Carl Sagan, Ph.D., astrophysicist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, host of the original Cosmos TV show, and composer of the “golden disc” representing humanity’s message to the universe that was attached to the Voyager space probe. He was also a lifelong cannabis smoker.
It has a residual effect on cognitive ability that lasts beyond intoxication because it is stored in organs and fatty tissues for days or even weeks after use. Common sense will tell you that causes greater need and increased side effects.
FALSE The effect on cognitive ability from cannabis comes from THC. That molecule is metabolized in the process of “feeling high.” Once it is metabolized, it becomes THC-COOH, an inactive molecule that does not get you high. That is the molecule that is stored in organs and fatty tissues for days or weeks and shows up on a urine test for a job.
It results in lower education. (Due to that learning thing.)
MISLEAD This misleading stat comes from looking at the educational attainment of non-cannabis users and comparing them to cannabis users, but ignoring how getting caught with cannabis can get you expelled from school and cost you your financial aid.
Advocates for marijuana, also love to say that marijuana smoke is not as harmful as cigarettes, when the exact opposite is true. Smoking three marijuana joints is as bad for your lungs as one pack of cigarettes.
Marijuana smoke contains higher levels of toxic substances, like ammonia and hydrogen cyanide, than tobacco smoke.
MISLEAD Yes, but marijuana smoke also contains a bevy of chemicals called cannabinoids that tobacco smoke lacks. Chemistry matters. Hydrogen is an flammable gas. Oxygen is something you breathe. But combine two hydrogens and an oxygen and you get water, something you can’t burn or breathe.
The Zombie Lie of $4.50 Marijuana Costs
Proponents love to point to the revenue that will come into the state upon legalization. But that simply isn’t true. As examples: When Colorado legalized, taxpayers found that for every dollar taxed, approximately $4.50 was spent to deal with the problems that came with legalization. Healthcare and education were the highest costs.
FALSE We’ve already written an entire article on this falsehood. It pretends that there were no costs from marijuana smoking before Colorado legalized, then attributes fantastical costs—like calculating the lifetime income lost by pot smokers as an annual cost or calculating the cost of a hospital admission from a pot smoker’s skiing accident—to marijuana legalization.
And Washington State has noted that the black market actually INCREASED with legalization, creating all kinds of additional problems, — financial and social.
FALSE How would that even be possible? Before legalization, there existed a black market that supplied 100% of all Washington’s marijuana purchases. After legalization, the legal market took a substantial portion of those marijuana sales—call it x%.
So, in order for the original black market to get bigger, it would have to increase by the x% it lost to the legal market, and we know how much sales that market produces—about $7.7 billion since June 2014. And according to a study from the University of Washington, “cannabis use both increased and substantially shifted from the illicit market since retail sales began in 2014.”
Fourteen states have legalized recreational marijuana, although it is still illegal at the federal level. This has caused massive problems (and money) for states due to red tape, and for law enforcement.
FALSE Sixteen, with New Mexico, Virginia, and Minnesota legalization imminent to boost it to nineteen. But there have been no “massive problems” that didn’t already exist under prohibition, since the federal government has largely abided by DOJ directives not to interfere with legal marijuana states.
DUI’s in all states have risen.
MISLEAD We assume she’s referring to just the legalization states, not all states. But does she mean DUI charges for all drugs or just marijuana? Many of these prohibitionists rely on statistics showing detected cannabis in fatality drivers, which have increased since legalization, but tell us nothing of whether a driver was impaired at the time. Detecting THC in the blood means you detected someone who smokes pot, period. Finding more pot smokers in car wrecks these days is no more surprising than finding more married gay people in car wrecks these days.
While the pot of 20 years ago had only 2 to 3 % THC potency, the product now has up to 99% potency.
FALSE… and laughably so. We’re supposed to believe that marijuana from 2001—five years into medical legalization in California—was below 3% THC potency? And everything going back from Snoop Dogg & Dr. Dre in the 1990s to Cheech & Chong in the 1970s to Allen Ginsberg & Jack Kerouac in the 1950s to Cab Calloway & Louis Armstrong in the 1930s, was even less potent?
Yes, marijuana flower today can top 30% THC potency, cannabis concentrates exceed 70%, and the purest THC distillates can be up to 99% pure. But THC is non-toxic, so increased potency doesn’t lead to fatal overdose, it just leads to using less of the product to achieve the desired effect.
And for the greenies, CO2 emissions have increased dramatically, as has the use of plastic for packaging the product.
TRUE There’s no doubt that massive indoor cannabis warehouses do produce a large carbon footprint. Requirements that cannabis be placed in childproof packaging do increase the need for plastic.
But these problems can be ameliorated. Changing regulations and tax structure to incentivize outdoor sungrown cannabis will help. Fully realizing the potential of industrial hemp to produce carbon-neutral, environmentally-friendly plastics will, too.
The fact that they are starting with legalization of “medicinal marijuana” means nothing. The fraud that is occurring under that guise is overwhelming. It is simply the gateway to full legalization of this dangerous drug and everyone knows it.
FALSE Patients need cannabis as medicine, full stop. Whether one also thinks marijuana should be legalized for all adults is irrelevant—if you believed that, wouldn’t you have to believe it’s OK as medicine? Who in their right mind would say, “I think adults should be able to smoke marijuana for fun, but it should be illegal for sick people to use as medicine?”
Medical marijuana is its own issue. If the people of Idaho want to vote for that, it will become law. If someday there is a recreational marijuana initiative, that is also something the people of Idaho can decide. Nothing about passing a medical marijuana law forces Idahoans to then vote for a recreational marijuana law.
In Idaho, our strong belief in freedom and determination to protect it, will be used against us. Proponents of legalization will use this to try to paint a hypocrisy between demanding our freedoms, but restricting this. Some will sucker for that, but we must be careful to not let them distort common sense. We know that there must be laws against things that are dangerous and harmful.
WTF? This state trusts any non-felon adult with the freedom to conceal a handgun they can carry into the state capitol with no license or training whatsoever. We are allowed to buy fireworks that are illegal to shoot off in the state of Idaho and trusted when we sign a piece of paper acknowledging that. Any 21 and older can buy as much alcohol and tobacco as they choose and any one aged 18–20 can still smoke that tobacco.
There is a reason, it is still restricted at the federal level and not approved by the FDA.
MISLEAD Yes, Cannabis is still a Schedule I drug. However, the feds have maintained a hands-off approach to state marijuana reform since 2013, thanks to the Cole Memo. A series of amendments to the federal budget have denied the spending of federal dollars to interfere with medical marijuana states. The MORE Act and the SAFE Banking Act are likely to be passed and signed into law soon, decriminalizing cannabis and legalizing cannabis commerce throughout America.
And the FDA can’t approve cannabis—a plant material—because its job is to approve pharmaceuticals extracted from plants and made synthetically. Trying to approve marijuana through the FDA is like trying to fit a leaf-shaped block in a pill-shaped hole.
It’s telling that our opponents are still clinging desperately to these falsehoods in the face of almost a decade of marijuana legalization and over two decades of medical marijuana. Two-thirds of Americans realize this scaremongering is bunk. Hopefully more than half of Idahoans realize that, too.
Liberty Lake is a small suburb between Spokane, Washington, and the Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene metro area in the Idaho Panhandle in the north of the state. It’s estimated population in 2018 was just under 10,000 people.
It’s not an entirely compatible comparison with Ontario, which at 11,000 people is the largest town in its county of 30,000. Liberty Lake is in Spokane County, home to over half a million people. Ontario’s marijuana sales are largely going to people from a Boise metro area of 800,000 people. Liberty Lake’s potential customer base in the Idaho Panhandle is about 150,000 people.
Still, it is worth noting that the one marijuana shop in Liberty Lake, the closest shop to the Idaho border, is the shop with the highest monthly sales of all 33 operating marijuana shops in Spokane county. At almost $1 million in January 2021, the latest data available, the Liberty Lake shop was the ninth-highest grossing shop in the entire state.
Moving south on the map to Whitman County, we find the cannabis shop of the county’s six that’s just over the state line from Moscow, Idaho (home to the University of Idaho) is also the top producer in the county, generating over $400,000 in January 2021 sales, $140,000 more than its next competitor.
Those six shops in Whitman County are all located in Pullman, Washington, right near the border. Collectively, they sold over $1 million in marijuana. The entire county has a population of around 50,000. Moscow, Idaho, has a population of about 25,000, with about 11,000 of those being university students.
Farther south in Asotin County lies Clarkston, Washington, a twin city just across the Columbia River and the state line from Lewiston, Idaho. There are just three marijuana shops in the entire county and they are all within the same city block five blocks over the bridge from Lewiston.
Those three shops in Asotin County notched $1.3 million in January 2021 sales. Clarkston is a city of just over 7,300 people in a county of 22,500. The city of Lewiston is just over 32,600 in a county of 40,000.
Again, trying to evaluate the proportion of Washington marijuana sales being made to Idahoans is a tricky task. Unlike the example of Ontario, Oregon, these shops in Washington also have sizeable in-state customer bases and smaller Idaho customer bases. But if we consider the single shop in Liberty Lake, the six shops in Pullman, and the three shops in Clarkston, those ten Idaho border shops are selling $3 million worth of marijuana per month.
The city of Ontario has set a new monthly marijuana sales record, for the first time selling over $10 million in marijuana products in March 2021.
The data from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission show that Malheur County marijuana shops sold over $10.3 million dollars for the month. Within Malheur County, only the city of Ontario allows legal marijuana sales. There are now eight shops open in this city of roughly 11,000 residents.
This makes Malheur the second-highest grossing marijuana sales county in the state of Oregon, after Multnomah County’s $28.9 million in sales. Multnomah is the home county to Portland, largely urbanized throughout, and home to over 812,000 people. Malheur is by far the state’s per capita sales leader, with sales of $19.12 per adult over age 18.
But, of course, it is not just the people of Ontario who are shopping for marijuana in Ontario, a town just across the border on Interstate 84. Idaho’s Treasure Valley—roughly the Census’s Combined Statistical Area including Idaho’s Ada, Canyon, Gem, Boise, Owyhee, Payette, and Elmore Counties—numbers over 800,000 in population.
When Ontario sells $10 million of marijuana a month, Ontario gets all the marijuana tax money and Idaho gets most of the marijuana smoking.
According to testimony from city leaders, Ontario receives about 1,500 unique visitors daily. They also testified that about ninety percent of the business in the Ontario shops is from Idahoans. Look in the parking lots of the eight Ontario pot shops and you’re going to mostly see Idaho license plates, some of those with county designators from far beyond the Treasure Valley.
City Councilman John Kirby even expressed that the tax revenue flowing in from Idaho was “like winning the lottery.” Ontario received a three percent cut from those $10 million in sales, which works out to $300,000. Since the first shop opened in July of 2019, Ontario’s raked in almost $4.2 million in city tax revenue alone.
Then the state of Oregon takes another seventeen percent cut, which works out to $23.7 million, some of which is funneled back into the city of Ontario and Malheur County.
If ninety percent of that Oregon tax revenue is generated by Idahoans, that means the Gem State has contributed over $25 million in tax revenue to the Beaver State.
The Idahoans who purchase marijuana products, however, don’t use those products in Oregon. Every day, a substantial number of the cars with Idaho plates traveling eastbound on Interstate 84 are trafficking marijuana into the state. Some unlucky few get caught in the gauntlet of Idaho State Police posted in the wilderness just over the border, but most do not.
So whatever harms may exist from the adult use of marijuana (not including the added harm of forcing adults to make interstate road trips to purchase it), Idaho suffers them and takes in zero tax dollars to deal with issues of substance abuse, impaired driving, and healthcare.
It’s not like struggling Idaho towns couldn’t use the money. Just across the river from Ontario, the city of Fruitland has tried in vain twice now to pass a $2.6 million bond measure to help fund improvements in their city hall building and to hire more police officers.
Meanwhile, the city of Ontario has been able to reopen a children’s water splash park and hire more police. Traffic from shopping at marijuana dispensaries has increased business at nearby stores. There’s new construction throughout Ontario.
Sales at $10 million even before Spring has fully sprung and pandemic protocols have been fully lifted augurs a summer full of new sales records for Malheur County. How much longer will Idahoans be forced to make their legal marijuana purchases out of state? How much longer can Idahoans accept marijuana purchases funding the schools, infrastructure, and law enforcement of other states, when they could be funding our own?
The Idaho Citizens Coalition is an unincorporated non-profit political action committee in support of the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act—John Belville, political treasurer. All purchases and donations on this site are subject to campaign finance disclosure. Dismiss