Cannabis in Idaho

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Cannabis in Idaho is fully illegal for any use, whether recreational or medical. The laws on cannabis prohibition in Idaho are among the most severe in the United States, with possession of even small amounts of it is a misdemeanor crime, and no legality of medical marijuana.[1] As of 2018, support for the legalization of medical cannabis is broadly popular in the state, while legalization of the drug recreationally remains a wedge issue.[2] Both the state's legislature as a whole and its governor, Brad Little, remain staunchly opposed to its legalization for medicinal or recreational purposes.[2][3]

In February 2021, cannabidiol with up to 0.1% THC content was descheduled in the form of the prescription drug Epidiolex.[4] Two months later, production and transport of hemp with a THC content of up to 0.3% was legalized.[5]

Prohibition[edit]

In the early 20th century, amidst a nationwide trend of cannabis prohibition, Idaho outlawed the drug in 1927.[6] In the same period, the mayor of Boise noted his concerns:

The Mexican beet field workers have introduced a new problem-the smoking in cigarettes or pipes of marijuana or grifo. its use is as demoralizing as the use of narcotics. Smoking grifo is quite prevalent along the Oregon Short Line Railroad; and Idaho has no law to cope with the use and spread of this dangerous drug (WCTU, 1928: 3).[7]

In 2013, the Idaho Legislature preemptively approved a statement of their opposition to ever legalizing cannabis.[8][9]

On February 3, 2021, as a response to the legalization of cannabis in surrounding states, the Idaho Senate approved a constitutional amendment introduced by C. Scott Grow banning the legalization of cannabis – or any other Schedule I or Schedule II drug[10] – with a vote of 24–11.[11][12] On April 15, the amendment failed in the Idaho House of Representatives, who voted 42–28 in favor of the amendment – falling five votes short of the required two-thirds supermajority.[3][13] No Democratic member of either chamber voted in favor of the amendment, and a handful of Republicans in both chambers voted in opposition as well.[11][3]

Reform[edit]

Attempts to field ballot initiatives to vote on medical cannabis failed in 2012 and 2014 due to insufficient signatures, and a 2016 attempt was withdrawn before the signatures were counted. In 2018 another attempt was drawn when its organizer had to quit to care for her ailing son.[14] In 2020, another effort to put medical marijuana on the ballot was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[15][16]

Senate Bill 1146a, which would have legalized CBD oil for persons with severe epilepsy, passed the Idaho Legislature following "lengthy and emotional" hearings, but was vetoed by Governor Butch Otter in April 2015.[17][18]

In his veto, Otter stated:

It ignores ongoing scientific testing on alternative treatments... It asks us to trust but not to verify. It asks us to legalize the limited use of cannabidiol oil, contrary to federal law. And it asks us to look past the potential for misuse and abuse with criminal intent.[19][20]

The Idaho Attorney General, in report 132-133,[21] clarified in 2015 that CBD containing 0% THC is permissible as long as it is derived from one of the five identified (non-flower) parts of the cannabis plant.[22]

On February 8, 2021, the Senate passed SB 1017 by a vote of 30–3, which included a provision for removing Epidiolex, a brand of prescription cannabidiol, from its Schedule V listing and limiting its THC content to 0.1%.[23] On February 19, it was passed by the House, and on February 26, Governor Brad Little signed the bill into law.[4]

On April 16, after a 44–26 vote in the House and a 30–5 vote in the Senate, Little signed House Bill 126, legalizing the production and transport of hemp with up to 0.3% THC content, making Idaho the final state to legalize the crop after it was legalized federally in 2018.[5][24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ball, Linda (February 1, 2019). "Why Idaho remains a pot-free island". The Spokesman-Review. Archived from the original on January 18, 2021. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Brown, Nathan (October 7, 2018). "As opinions shift, marijuana emerges as wedge issue". Post Register. Archived from the original on January 15, 2019. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Ridler, Keith (April 15, 2021). "Constitutional ban on legal marijuana dies in Idaho House". Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 16, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "SENATE BILL 1017 – Idaho State Legislature". Retrieved April 25, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Idaho Gov. signs bill allowing growing, transport of hemp". Associated Press. April 19, 2021. Archived from the original on May 3, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  6. ^ Davenport-Hines, Richard (2012). The Pursuit of Oblivion: A Social History of Drugs. Orion Publishing Group. pp. 126–. ISBN 978-1-78022-542-5.
  7. ^ "History of Marihuana Legislation - State Prohibition - 1914-1930". Druglibrary.org. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  8. ^ "SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 112 – Idaho State Legislature". Legislature.idaho.gov. June 20, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  9. ^ Graf, Scott (March 27, 2013). "Idaho Lawmakers, Cities Want No Part Of Relaxed Marijuana Laws". Boise State Public Radio. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  10. ^ Norimine, Hayat (April 15, 2021). "Idaho Republicans tried to block any future marijuana legalization. How'd it turn out?". Idaho Statesman. Archived from the original on May 3, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  11. ^ a b Ridler, Keith (February 3, 2021). "Idaho Senate approves constitutional ban on legal marijuana". Associated Press. Archived from the original on February 15, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  12. ^ Dawson, James (February 4, 2021). "Idaho Senate Passes Anti-Marijuana Constitutional Amendment By 1 Vote". Boise State Public Radio. Archived from the original on May 3, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  13. ^ Russell, Betsy Z. (April 15, 2021). "Idaho House rejects anti-drug constitutional amendment". The Idaho Press-Tribune. Archived from the original on May 3, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  14. ^ Pauli, Hunter (April 29, 2018). "Push to legitimize Idaho pot is up in smoke…again". The Spokesman-Review. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  15. ^ Jaeger, Kyle (April 2, 2020). "Idaho Activists Suspend Campaign To Legalize Medical Marijuana Due To Coronavirus". Marijuana Moment. Archived from the original on January 19, 2021. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  16. ^ Kopp, Emily (October 21, 2020). "Five more states voting this fall on legalizing marijuana". Roll Call. Archived from the original on December 7, 2020. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
  17. ^ "Otter vetoes marijuana extract oil bill". Idaho Statesman. April 16, 2015. Archived from the original on May 3, 2021. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  18. ^ "Otter vetoes cannabis oil bill". KBOI-TV. Associated Press. April 16, 2015. Archived from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved December 17, 2019.
  19. ^ Russell, Betsy Z. (April 16, 2015). "Otter vetoes bill to allow CBD oil to be used to treat sick Idaho kids | The Spokesman-Review". The Spokesman-Review. Archived from the original on November 24, 2020. Retrieved August 25, 2015.
  20. ^ Otter, C. L. "Butch" (April 16, 2015). "S1146a Veto" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on March 23, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2021 – via The Spokesman-Review.
  21. ^ Wasden, Lawrence G. (2015). "IDAHO ATTORNEY GENERAL'S ANNUAL REPORT" (PDF). Idaho Office of Drug Policy. Archived from the original on November 12, 2019. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  22. ^ "Cannabidiol (CBD)". Idaho Office of Drug Policy. Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  23. ^ Russell, Betsy Z. (February 8, 2021). "Senate backs annual drug-update bill that includes Epidiolex, 30-3". The Idaho Press-Tribune. Archived from the original on February 8, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  24. ^ Suppe, Ryan; Spacek, Rachel (April 19, 2021). "Hemp legalization to help crop diversity in rural communities, bring in additional revenue". The Idaho Press-Tribune. Archived from the original on April 21, 2021. Retrieved May 3, 2021.