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Store manager Hector Mauricio straightens up a display case at Hotbox Farms, a recreational marijuana dispensary in Huntington, Ore., on Oct. 26, 2018. A pro-cannabis advocacy group successfully pushed an initiative on the November ballot to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana in nearby Ontario, Ore. — about 4 miles from Fruitland, Idaho — to allow for the state-licensed sale and processing of recreational marijuana within its city limits.

A monthly cannabis education event is coming to Idaho Falls.

Idaho Cannabis Education, an advocacy group led by local business owner Nathanial Pickering, is hosting its first meeting on Feb. 20 to spread information about the medicinal use of cannabis, which is illegal in all forms in Idaho.

The event is meant to inform the public about the positive effects of medicinal cannabis, especially for veterans and people with chronic pain or illness.

Idaho Falls residents don’t have access to appropriate information about medicinal cannabis and the educational event is meant to fill that void, Pickering said.

“There is a lack of education and information here in the Idaho Falls area,” Pickering said. “You don’t have to agree with it or use it yourself. (The meeting) is just a matter of education.”

Pickering is an advocate for legalization of medical cannabis in Idaho. He also advocated for legalization in Montana, which first legalized medical cannabis in 2004. Pickering lived in Montana at the time.

Pickering expects the event to face criticism from the Idaho Falls community, but he hopes residents — for or against legalization — will come to the event and do their own research on the scientific research behind cannabis. He hopes people will leave the event saying, “That was actually pretty informative; I think I’m going to look into this further,” Pickering said.

Idaho Cannabis Education is an Idaho Falls branch of Legalize Idaho, a statewide umbrella advocacy group that aims to put medicinal cannabis on the ballot in 2020.

David Lybolt, a team leader for Legalize Idaho’s Pocatello branch, will speak at the Idaho Cannabis Education event. He said the event is the first of its kind in Idaho Falls, although Pocatello already hosts a similar monthly meeting.

Lybolt will speak about “educating your local community and working with your local legislators,” he said.

Other speakers include Dennis Hansen, of U.S. Hemp Roundtable; Jasmine Kinney, owner of the International Institute of Massage Therapy; and military veterans Ryan Parker and Matthew Davis, among other speakers.

The event is free. It begins at 7 p.m. on Feb. 20 at the Gem, 216 1st St., Idaho Falls.

Reporter Ryan Suppe can be reached at 208-542-6762. Follow him on Twitter: @salsuppe.

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