Now, it’s getting serious. What seemed like a desperate ploy from a bygone era, a constitutional amendment to prohibit cannabis legalization in Idaho is gaining legislative steam. Republican State Senator C. Scott Grow’s Reefer Madness-inspired bill passed out of Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee on a party line vote and will now go before the full committee. If passed by the House and Idaho voters, all psychoactive drugs would forever be illegal in the Gem State unless approved by the FDA. To signify how ridiculous this constitutional amendment is, even if the federal government repealed federal prohibition by removing cannabis from the list of controlled substances, cannabis would still remain constitutionally prohibited in Idaho.
While proponents like Senator Grow spouted debunked lies like cannabis legalization leading to crime, opponents wisely pushed back with science and common sense, as ABC News reported:
Those opposed said medical marijuana is needed for Idaho residents suffering from chronic or terminal illnesses. Dan Zuckerman, medical director of St. Luke’s Cancer Institute, said dealing with over a thousand cancer patients over more than a decade convinced him of the efficacy of medical marijuana in helping with pain and nausea.
“I’ve seen it myself with my own eyes,” he said. “The data is clear that patients benefit from this.”
Sen. Michelle Stennett, a Democrat from Ketchum, also noted that the amendment would prohibit doctors from providing terminally ill patients access to experimental or investigational drugs that are normally illegal but can still be prescribed in certain circumstances when other treatments have failed.
While a constitutional ban on cannabis will keep Idahoans coming to Oregon (the road trip to Pendleton to visit Kind Leaf IS worth the trek), helping create jobs and generate revenue for the Beaver State, this proposed constitutional ban is just wrong and sets a dangerous precedent for other states to follow. If Senator Grow gets his way, then other Reefer Madness prohibitionists will consider similar constitutional bans in other states, leading to more unnecessary arrests and the continuation of a domestic war that has already harmed too many nonviolent Americans.