Is Weed Legal In Idaho? Can You Access Medical Marijuana In Idaho? Is Recreational Cannabis Legal In Idaho?
Nestled in the northwest of the United States, Idaho ranks as the state with the 39th highest population. Where it lacks in numbers, the 'gem state' makes up for in its rich culture and history. The state's name derives from the Native American term for 'land of many waters' and is known for having a large stake in the US potato industry.
The state is otherwise recognised for its extraordinary scenery. Very few cities boast a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and pristine bodies of water.
Idaho's history with cannabis
Idaho is one of the few states left that doesn't possess legislation that recognises medical marijuana whatsoever. This stems from the state's alignment with the prohibition trend of the 1920s and '30s which outlawed marijuana.
The state has simultaneously used its distaste towards Mexican immigrants as a scapegoat for their issues with marijuana. The Mayor of Boise Idaho's capital, Walter F. Hansen publicly voiced his concerns with the "New problem" of Mexican field workers using cigarettes and marijuana. At the time, there was no legislation outlawing marijuana use, which gave Mayor Hansen as well as other prohibition enthusiasts ample opportunity to reinforce anti-immigration ideals while banning cannabis use in Idaho.
The prohibition of cannabis in the state has contributed to an exponential increase in the state's incarceration numbers. Studies completed by ACLU indicate African American residents in Idaho are almost 4 times more likely to be indicted on cannabis-related charges. In the same study, it was observed that even with the increase in arrests, cannabis use continues to increase with arrests steadily increasing between 2014 and 2020.
Is Medical Marijuana Legal In Idaho?
Unfortunately, Idaho sits as one of six states in the US that are yet to initialise a medical cannabis program. This comes despite efforts in 2015 where legislators passed a bill that would entitle specific Idaho citizens to access a cannabidiol (CBD) prescription.
This is not to say progress isn't already underway to legalise medical cannabis in some form. Potential patients are still technically able to qualify as an Idaho 'Medical Marijuana Patient'. If you are 18 years of age or older and possess some certification from a medical professional, you may be eligible to receive a medical marijuana prescription upon its legalisation.
To qualify for the prescription, you must exhibit a 'Qualifying medical condition'. This includes:
– Extreme body pains
– Terminal cancer
– Muscular Dystrophy
In the case of Idaho, medical marijuana looks to particularly treat physiological illnesses rather than psychological ones. States that have an already well organised medical cannabis scheme have been using it for its potential in the mental health field with great success, including its use in treatment for depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Is Recreational Cannabis Legal In Idaho?
Idaho ranks as one of the states with the most intense opposition to recreational cannabis use. Even being under the influence without possession of cannabis carries with it a possible charge.
"The Governor's Office of Drug Policy opposes legalization of marijuana in any form other than specific marijuana-based medications that have received FDA approval." Idaho Office of Drug Policy
Idaho law strictly prohibits recreational cannabis use, and a felony charge carries a potential fine of up to $25,000 and gaol time. Like other states that have yet to legalise recreational cannabis, Idaho law enforces a misdemeanour charge on people in possession of under 3 ounces. This could result in up to a year of gaol time and a fine of $1,000.
Are Hemp and CBD Products Legal in Idaho?
Because hemp and CBD products fall into the same category as marijuana (Cannabis family), they are technically not permitted for sale in Idaho. In 2015, the Idaho state senate put forward the 'Senate Bill 1146a' which would have legalised CBD products. Particularly oils that are utilised by patients suffering from a terminal illness or epilepsy related conditions.
Hemp products fall into their own set of standards within Idaho law. In 2020, 'Senate Bill 1345' was introduced with great reception which would allow growers to cultivate hemp products and distribute them granted the THC content is lower than 0.3%. The introduction of this bill stipulates that states are recommended to submit a hemp program plan to the Department of Agriculture. Of course, Idaho is one of a handful of states that has yet to submit a plan.
The guidelines for hemp cultivation in Idaho are confusing, to say the least, even with the legal '0% THC' products. Under strict conditions imposed by the ODP, hemp can only be sourced from particular parts of the plant, including:
– Stalks of a mature plant
– The fibres produced within the stalk
– Achene (Simple dried fruit)
Will Idaho Legalise Weed?
While it is possible the state's future could include legalised cannabis in some form, its current stance is largely oppositional. As of January 2021, a constitutional ban was passed in the Idaho state senate that prohibits the use of psychoactive drugs in any form, including marijuana. The ban now moves to a house-level debate and if successful, a public vote soon after.
Primary media outlets within Idaho are largely in favour of the ban and disseminate information with the intention of swaying Idaho citizens away from the potential of structured and controlled cannabis legislation.
"The fact that they are starting with legalization of 'medicinal marijuana' means nothing. The fraud that is occurring under that guise is overwhelming." Jan Conner, CDAPress
States tend to vote in the direction of the ones that surround them, as demonstrated by Idaho's neighbours Washington, Oregon, Montana and Nevada who have all since legalised medical and recreational cannabis. Oregon takes a step further to legalise hard drugs and other psychoactive substances. Steps like this look to focus on education and rehabilitation rather than criminalisation. So, while Idaho might reject the idea of cannabis in any form currently, there is hope lawmakers and voters will look to neighbouring states for instruction when navigating the legalisation of weed.
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