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Idaho Lawmakers Approve Resolution to Prevent Legal Cannabis

January 29, 2021

Lawmakers in the state of Idaho have approved a resolution to amend the Idaho Constitution to prevent psychoactive drugs and cannabis from being legalized in the state. The Senate Affairs Committee approved the measure on January 29 by a 6-2 vote, which seeks to create complications for state activists looking to put medical-use cannabis measures on the ballot for 2022. 

The resolution stipulates that “the production, manufacture, transportation, sale, delivery, dispensing, distribution, possession, or use of a psychoactive drug shall not be permitted in the state of Idaho.” 

Full Chamber Will Make Final Decision on Idaho Cannabis Ban 

Now that the Senate committee has approved the resolution, it will be passed on to the full chamber for consideration. If passed, the resolution would dash hopes of legalization by taking precedence over any statutory legalization measures appearing alongside it. No matter how overwhelmingly a statutory measure might be approved, it would not be able to override the constitutional initiative. 

The resolution claims that the normalization of illicit drug use has a “profound negative effect” on the citizens of Idaho, making it “reasonable and necessary” that the constitutional change should be enacted. 

Advocates Claim Resolution Undermines Democractic Processes 

For activists working to collect signatures on marijuana legalization initiatives for both medical-use and adult-use cannabis, the resolution poses a real concern to their efforts. Many believe that the Senate committee’s request undermines the democratic process by misleading voters. 

The resolution fails to directly explain exactly how medical cannabis reform efforts would have  “profound negative impacts” on the people of Idaho. Additionally, advocates claim that the term “psychoactive drugs” is intentionally ambiguous and designed to confuse voters. 

Should the measure be approved by the Senate, all efforts to legalize marijuana for either medical or recreational use would be rendered null. While lawmakers in Idaho work against the nationwide trend of state’s seeking to legalize marijuana, it remains to be seen whether legislation will be enacted into law. 

Contributed by Jack Berning