While the rest of the nation is following both science and the will of the voters, America’s last prohibition state is doubling down on the Reefer Madness delusion that cannabis is a scourge that can only be eradicated by arresting and jailing people for utilizing a substance that is much less addictive and harmful than alcohol. While a supermajority of folks now understand that cannabis prohibition should be swept into the dustbin of history as alcohol prohibition once was, Idaho State Senator C. Scott Grow, is calling for a constitutional amendment to forever ban cannabis and other “psychoactive drugs” from being legalized within the borders of the Gem State.
My friend and activist colleague, Russ Belville, an Idaho native working on ending cannabis prohibition in the state, provided his take:
Idaho is the last state in America with absolute marijuana prohibition. Not only are adult-use and medical marijuana illegal here, even the low-THC CBD oil that was legalized federally under the 2018 Farm Bill is still illegal in Idaho. It’s so absurd that Idaho State Police declared a 6,700lb load of industrial hemp being trucked through the state was “the biggest drug bust in state history.“
This amendment is just the latest anti-marijuana salvo from prohibitionist state legislators who are out-of-touch with their constituents on the issue of marijuana.
And as the Idaho Statesman noted, Idaho’s Reefer Madness policies don’t prevent Idahoans from using cannabis, it merely increases the coffers of the great state of Oregon, as Idaho’s cannabis community just makes purchases across the border:
Idaho — which does not allow medical marijuana — is now surrounded by border states that have legalized the drug in some capacity, with the exception of Wyoming. Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Montana have legalized recreational pot, while Utah allows medical marijuana. A total of 36 states have approved medical marijuana use, while 15 have allowed recreational use.
Banning pot hasn’t stopped Idaho residents from buying it. An economic analysis released by Oregon last year showed marijuana sales along the Idaho border were up 420% the statewide average.
Idahoans, contact your legislators and urge them to oppose this constitutional amendment. Regardless of one’s political position, they should be extremely wary about tinkering with the constitution to prohibit the rights of people. Opinions, statutory code, and scientific knowledge changes over time. If this constitutional ban does make this ballot, I imagine that the ironically named C. Scott Grow will rue the day.
The ballot box is where cannabis policy reform thrives. While reforms are tough to pass in legislatures, places where big money interests have too much power, cannabis measures do great when put before the people. Placing cannabis at the ballot box is coming onto our home turf. Our record winning elections is better than the best sports dynasties, probably only eclipsed by the Harlem Globetrotters. With positive cannabis passing in conservative states like South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Mississippi, I like cannabis’ chances.
Idaho residents thinking of traveling to Oregon should venture into beautiful Pendleton for a great road trip getaway. Don’t just settle for any Oregon dispensary. Come to Kind Leaf, Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique, and enjoy the best selection in the state, if not the entire Great Northwest. Order online via Leafly to save time, or come on in and marvel at what the future holds, regardless of the futile attempts of Reefer Madness prohibitionists like Senator Grow.