Idaho Activists Launch Signature Drive to Put Medical Marijuana Legalization on 2024 Ballot

Activists in Idaho have begun collecting signatures for a medical marijuana legalization initiative they hope to place on the 2024 state ballot.

The Kind Idaho campaign officially launched in August, with supporters filling out the necessary paperwork with the state to start the signature drive. After gaining approval in their language from state officials in mid-October, activists began collecting signatures for the measure, which is virtually identical to ones the group introduced in 2020 and 2022 that ended up not being voted on.

To qualify, the campaign must submit valid signatures from at least seven percent of registered voters in the state — including at least seven percent of voters in a minimum of 18 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts — by April 14, 2024.

If the measure finally appears on the ballot and is approved by voters, patients with qualifying conditions will be able to buy cannabis at state-licensed dispensaries, and those unable to access or afford dispensaries will be able to grow up to six plants at home.

Jackee Winters, president of Kind Idaho, posted a video to Facebook last week to go over the various provisions of the reform initiative and urge residents to get involved and sign the petition, which she said the campaign would print and mail to voters who can. do not personally visit an exclusive broadcast station.

“We want this … in the 2024 ballot where we can all vote in Idaho to have a voice,” she said. “We don’t want to lose our voice, and we don’t want to be the last to get medical marijuana either.”

Here is what the proposed voting initiative would accomplish:

Allow access to cannabis for registered patients with chronic illnesses or conditions, or for people with a terminal illness that doctors say have less than a year to live. Fees for one-year registration cards could not exceed $100.

Allowing patients or qualified caregivers to possess up to four ounces of marijuana, defined as all parts of the cannabis plant, including derivatives, containing “any of the chemicals classified as tetrahydrocannabinoids (THC).

Allow patients or their caregivers who qualify for a “difficulty growing designation” to grow up to six cannabis plants in an enclosed, locked facility. Hardship designations would be awarded on the basis of financial hardship, inability to travel to a dispensary, or the lack of a dispensary close to the patient’s home.

Eligible patients with cancer, glaucoma, HIV or AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD, inflammatory bowel disease, Huntington’s disease or Tourette’s syndrome. Patients would also be eligible with any medical condition or treatment that produces cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, or persistent muscle spasms. Other qualifying conditions may be added by regulators, including in response to a petition from any Idaho resident.

Licensing retail medical marijuana dispensaries, production facilities, and safety compliance facilities. Entries would be evaluated based on a ranked scoring system and facilities could not be located within 300 meters of the schools.

Establish a 4% excise tax on cannabis sales to patients or caregivers. After covering program costs, half of the remaining funds would go to the Idaho Division of Veterans Services and the other half would go to the state’s general fund.

Empower the Department of Health and Welfare to license and regulate the state’s medical marijuana program, requiring it to adopt rules within 120 days of the measure becoming law.

Cities and counties may also establish their own ordinances and zoning regulations.

Allow medical marijuana cardholders from other states to access the program.

Prohibit certain forms of discrimination against cannabis patients, or others involved in the legal conduct of cannabis, in education, housing, state and local gun laws, health care and employment. Under state law surrounding discrimination, marijuana would be treated similarly to prescription drugs.

The same group sought to put a measure to put medical cannabis legalization on state ballots this year, but organizers later said they didn’t collect enough signatures. Kind Idaho says he’s confident the renovation will make it to the finish line this round.

Joe Evans of Kind Idaho told Marijuana Moment that there have been some “cosmetic” changes from the group’s latest petition, while a more substantive one concerns the removal of the need for patients to have a valid medical cannabis registration to protect their rights. parental or firearms. 🇧🇷

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A poll released this month shows that 68% of Idaho adults support the legalization of medical marijuana and that a plurality of 48% support the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Attempts to allow Idaho voters to have a say in marijuana reform have proven especially challenging in recent years, in part due to efforts by state officials to make it difficult to qualify ballot initiatives.

In 2020, during the early months of the COVID pandemic, organizers of the Idaho Cannabis Coalition asked the Secretary of State for permission to collect signatures electronically, as temporarily permitted by order of a federal judge in a separate campaign. State officials, however, rejected the request.

The following year, lawmakers tried to pre-emptively block the legalization of marijuana, even if voters approved it on the ballot. The Senate passed a bill declaring that “the production, manufacture, transportation, sale, delivery, distribution, distribution, possession or use of a psychoactive drug shall not be permitted in the state of Idaho.” This measure ended up dying in the Chamber.

Lawmakers also passed a law that tightened the petition process to put initiatives on the ballot, but the state Supreme Court struck down the law last August.

Another reform proposal, which would legalize the possession of up to three ounces of cannabis by adults aged 21 and over in their own homes, was released for signature collection in July 2021. But in January of this year, again facing a wave of cases of COVID, the campaign said organizers would suspend signature collection in the interest of public health.

Meanwhile, five states voted adult-use marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot during this month’s midterm elections, and two of them (Maryland and Missouri) passed them, becoming the 20th and 21st states to enact the reform.

Last month, the governor of Oklahoma called a special election in March 2023 for voters to decide whether to legalize marijuana.

Activists in Arkansas, Florida, Nebraska and other states also have their eyes on putting marijuana reform on the ballot in 2024.

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Photo courtesy of Brian Shamblen.

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Idaho Activists Launch Signature Drive to Put Medical Marijuana Legalization on 2024 Ballot

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