Idaho House lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill that would legalize medical cannabis. The move comes only days after a Senate committee approved a proposal to amend the state’s constitution in order to prohibit all psychoactive drugs.
The medical marijuana legalization bill was submitted by Reps. Mike Kingsley (R) and Ilana Rubel (D) and named the “Sergeant Kitzhaber Medical Cannabis Act” in honor of Sgt Jeremy Kitzhaber, a military veteran diagnosed with terminal cancer likely caused by his handling of radioactive materials while serving in the Air Force.
Writing in theIdaho Statesman, Kingsley and Rubel said they introduced the bill “because pain is not partisan.”
Kingsley and Rubel’s bill proposes a medical cannabis program in Idaho that would be rather modest compared to otherstates that legalized medical marijuana. Marijuana would be dispensed in small doses in blister-sealed packaging for patients with one of 16 medical conditions, whilehome cultivation would be prohibited. Qualifying patients would require amedical marijuana card which could be revoked if they were found to have given their cannabis to another person. The bill also stipulates that only those medical providers permitted to prescribe opioids would be allowed to recommend marijuana as a treatment.
Meanwhile, as the House Health and Welfare Committee considers Kingsley and Rubel’s proposal, Idaho medical marijuana advocates weregiven the all clear to collect signatures in order to put a medical cannabis legalization question on the state’s 2022 ballot. So while the Idaho legislature simultaneously debates competing proposals to loosen and entrench marijuana prohibition, it’s conceivable that voters could be asked to do much the same come the midterm elections in 2022. If the proposed constitutional amendment to ban all psychoactive drugs, submitted by Sen. Scott Grow, passes the legislature it would require voter approval to take effect. Those same voters could be asked at the same time whether they approve of medical marijuana legalization in Idaho. However, the constitutional amendment, if approved by voters, would take precedence over the statutory proposal to legalize medical marijuana, no matter the margins of victory.