50 States

50 States: Idaho

By David Jenison

Medical: No
Recreational: No
Decriminalized: No

As previously reported on PRØHBTD, an Idaho-state prosecutor recently charged three teenagers with felonies for cannabis possessions. The 14-, 15- and 17-year-old faced up to five years in jail each due to a new state law passed earlier this year that made cannabis possession a felony for everyone regardless of their age. Similarly, the state apparently thinks any pro-cannabis activist must be irresponsible and dangerous since Child Protective Services in 2013 scooped up the children of three outspoken parents who were strongly advocating for medical cannabis. The Idaho Office of Drug Policy page on Facebook regularly spews ignorant anti-cannabis propaganda, and an Idaho Politics Weekly poll in 2015 reported that 53 percent of residents strongly oppose legalization and another 11 percent simply oppose it.

To put it another way, Salon.com published “The 9 States Where Marijuana Will Be Legalized Last” in 2015, and Idaho finished second after Alabama. Likewise, the Marijuana Policy Project noted that Idaho "is one of only two remaining states whose law does not acknowledge medical cannabis in any way." The other state is Kansas. 

The same aforementioned poll found that 33 percent support or somewhat support legalization, and a Boise State University survey in 2011 surprisingly found that 74 percent of Idaho residents support medical cannabis use for “terminally and seriously ill patients.” A grassroots organization called the Idaho Medical Marijuana Association (IMMA) is currently gathering signatures to put the Idaho Medical Marijuana Initiative on the November 2018 ballot. Per the IMMA's Facebook page, "Don't let Idaho be the last state!!"

Change might not come soon, but Idaho came close to its first victory in 2015. After making it through a Senate committee on a 5-4 vote, a bill to legalize cannabidiol (CBD) oil narrowly passed the state legislature. Named after an 11-year-old epileptic named Alexis Carey, the bill allowed parents to posses liquid cannabidiol (CBD) with a maximum .03 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content to treat children with seizure disorders. And would you believe the governor vetoed the bill on the grounds that it raises too many questions. 

Gov. Butch Otter—yeah, that's the name his parents gave him—said the [CBD bill] "ignores ongoing scientific testing on alternative treatments," whatever the fuck that means. Otter, whose arrest history includes a drunk driving conviction, is the only governor ever to veto a CBD legalization bill, and he still opposes any form of legalization, including medical CBD oil. The third-term governor also opposes gay marriage and abortion rights and supports the border wall and gun rights. 

Ironically, the conservative anti-cannabis state is also home Larry "Wide Stance" Craig: the GOP senator arrested in 2007 for lewd conduct in an airport bathroom famous for gay bathroom-stall sex. Clearly the GEM State Republicans have a history of sticking it to the voters. 

Photo credit: Unsplash

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