Several states are pushing towards cannabis legalization as the 2020 election approaches. The Idaho Cannabis Coalition recently launched a campaign to gather signatures for a medical marijuana initiative they want added to the 2020 ballot. To accomplish this goal they must obtain 55,057 petition signatures over the next 10 months from voters in at least 18 of Idaho’s 35 districts.
The campaign strategy is fully developed but the actual petition is still awaiting approval from officials at the Secretary of State, and Attorney General’s offices. Once it gets approved, the race begins and John Belville, a former addiction counselor, will be leading the charge. Belville is forced to drive to neighboring Oregon to acquire cannabis oil to treat his peripheral neuropathy rather than take painkillers prescribed by Idaho doctors.
The Idaho Cannabis Coalition has done its due diligence by speaking with legal and political experts across the nation that have extensive experience in the legalization process other states. Additionally, they have been raising awareness about the initiative and fundraising to help support the efforts of the Idaho Cannabis Coalition.
Idaho is surrounded by states that have already legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana and is really missing out on the potential for job creation and huge tax revenue. Known as “Prohibition Island,” Idaho legislators have previously voted against legalization. Many residents of Idaho are hoping that 2020 will be the year that voters make their voices heard.
Cannabis reform advocates were unable to collect enough signatures to get it added to the ballot in 2012 and 2014. In 2016, the petition was withdrawn even before any signatures were counted and in 2018 the campaign was led by the Idaho Medical Marijuana Association which ran short on funds and were forced to stop collecting signatures months before the midterm elections.
There have been anti-legalization activist organizations running their own billboard campaigns in Idaho discouraging residents from voting yes. Medical marijuana legalization has been road-blocked several times, including when then-Governor Butch Otter vetoed the bill to allow CBD products for epileptic children in 2015. Despite all the setbacks, advocates are confident that this well funded effort from the Idaho Cannabis Coalition will indeed get enough signatures to make the ballot.
As soon as they garner enough signatures they will submit the petition to the Secretary of State’s Office for the signatures to be verified and add the initiative to the 2020 Idaho ballot. John Belville’s campaign has the support of Idaho veterans who are joining in his fight to legalize medical marijuana. Polls have shown that Idahoans are much more progressive on the issue of legalization than the majority of state politicians. Anyone interested in contributing to the campaign can visit the Idaho Cannabis Coalition page.