Many citizens of Idaho realize that, on July 30, 2019, a petition was filed with the Secretary of State known as the “Idaho Medical Marijuana Act”. This petition would require 55,000 valid signatures by April 30, 2020 in order to be put on a ballot and presented to Idaho voters in the November 2020 general election. If the petition receives the legal number of signatures and if Idaho’s electorate votes positively for the “Act” it has the potential of becoming law. This is known as the “Ballot Initiative” process.
The petition is a legal document, 20 pages in length, filled with definitions, registration requirements, protections, dispensing methods, rulemaking (Department of Health and Welfare), etc. To date, approximately 11,000 signatures have been secured but are yet to be validated.
In title 39, chapter 97 of the act it states that “Marijuana means all parts of plant of the genus Cannabis species, and whether growing or not, the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant…” in other words, full blown marijuana with its THC hallucinating properties.
The act defines who might use marijuana on a regular basis. I consider myself a healthy person but find that I could qualify in three different categories.
Anyone holding a marijuana card could have on their person up to 4 (four) ounces of the drug, as well as their “agent” and their “caregiver”. Additionally, if it is perceived that getting to a dispensary would create a hardship, a “cardholder”, an “agent”, and a “caregiver” could be given authority to grow up to 6 (six) plants on their property.
As this picture begins to unfold it seems clear that legalizing marijuana as a “recreational” drug would not be necessary because almost any citizen could, in some way, qualify to use the drug medicinally. It would be virtually impossible for law enforcement to control the use of a drug that is otherwise illegal when a designated population can use it legally.
This summer I have traveled, on personal business, to the states of Washington, Oregon, and Colorado where marijuana usage is prevalent and have seen firsthand its devastating effects, most notably homelessness and mental health disorders.
As a member of the House Education Committee I find myself asking questions wherever I go. In Colorado I was told to “ask any public school teacher” and they will tell you that marijuana is, among youth, the gateway to harder and more addictive drugs.
I ask that you join me in opposing the “Idaho Medical Marijuana Act”.