Latest news on the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act

July 20 — Although Idaho’s campaign has failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, the game ain’t over yet.

In early July, activists threatened to sue the state if they weren’t provided with more time to gather signatures in light of the coronavirus pandemic. They cited a recent ruling in which a District Court judge in Idaho granted a different organization more time to gather signatures for a separate statewide initiative, and a panel of judges blocked the state’s appeal.

Idaho’s secretary of state denied the Idaho Cannabis Coalition’s request on July 17. The group is expected to file a lawsuit later this month.

The Idaho Medical Marijuana Act

Read the full proposal here: The Idaho Medical Marijuana Act

Medical or adult use?


What the law would do

The Idaho Medical Marijuana Act would legalize possession of marijuana for registered patients, and establish a legal framework for growing, production, testing and retail facilities.

Campaign sponsors

  • Idaho Cannabis Coalition
  • Russ Belville, spokesperson
  • New Approach PAC

Legalization opponents

  • Rep. Jerald Raymond (R)
  • Gov. Brad Little (R)
  • Idahoans for Healthy Kids and Communities

Latest polling

  • 73% “strongly” or “somewhat” support medical marijuana, but 57% are opposed to recreational marijuana. (March 2019 poll)

Would dispensaries be licensed?

  • Yes

Would marijuana be taxed, and at what rate?

  • Yes, at 4% plus Idaho sales tax.

5 things to know about the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act

  • The Act would allow patients and their caregivers to possess up to four ounces of marijuana at a time.
  • Most patients would not be permitted to grow marijuana at home unless they qualify for “hardship cultivation exemption – meaning they have a physical, financial, or distance difficulty in acquiring marijuana at a dispensary,” in which case they can grow six cannabis plants in an enclosed, locked facility (a caregiver can help them).
  • The Act would require individuals to have a qualifying condition or a terminal illness in order to become a medical marijuana patient. Those conditions include cancer, PTSD, chronic pain and many more. The Department of Health would be authorized to add more qualifying conditions.
  • The program would permit out-of-state patients, but may require “some form of registration” from them.
  • Tax revenue generated from the program would be split between the Idaho Division of Veterans Services and the state’s General Fund.

Current cannabis law in Idaho

An individual charged with possession of up to three ounces of marijuana (misdemeanor) faces a year in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine. Possession between three ounces and a pound (felony) can put you in jail for up to five years, as well as a $10,000 fine.

Quotes from advocates

  • “The need for medical marijuana access for sick and disabled Idahoans is not going away, and neither are we.” – Russ Belville, spokesperson for Idaho Cannabis Coalition
  • “Every person that takes up this cause, is fighting to create a better world for those with disabilities or illnesses – isn’t it time to see our people heal, Idaho?” – Idaho Cannabis Coalition, via Facebook (Feb 29, 2020)

Quotes from opponents

  • “I think the definition of medical marijuana is problematic to start with…Marijuana is not a medicine, it’s a drug. It’s a mind-altering drug.” – Rep. Jerald Raymond (R)
  • “There are other alternatives to folks…There’s FDA-approved alternatives to people who have conditions that these folks say are improved by [marijuana].” – Tim Allen, spokesperson for Idahoans for Healthy Kids and Communities
  • If Idahoans want legal marijuana, “they elected the wrong guy as governor.” – Gov. Brad Little (R)

Leafly coverage

  • Idahoans flock to legal cannabis shop on Idaho-Oregon border, by the Associated Press
  • What it’s like to live in your own illegal Idaho, by Lisa Rough
  • The Roll-up podcast: Radical Russ in Idaho, by Leafly Podcasts


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