Rory Savatgy

Push to Put MMJ Ballot Initiative to Idaho Voters Stalled

Advocates in Idaho have stopped collecting signatures for the ballot initiative to legalize medical cannabis in the state and the group behind the effort, the Idaho Medical Marijuana Association, has dissolved, according to a Spokesman-Review report. The organization’s president, Tesla Gillespie, said the group wasn’t sufficiently organized or funded to collect enough signatures.

Gillespie said she was unsure how many signatures were collected before the effort was abandoned. The group needed 56,000 by April 30. This is the fourth failed bid to legalize medical cannabis in the state. In 2012 and 2014 advocates were unable to collect enough signatures. In 2016 the initiative was withdrawn before signatures were counted.

Neither this initiative nor any previous attempts would have created a broad industry. Instead, they relied on caregivers with low patient-to-provider ratios. Chris Lindsay, legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project – who drafted a proposal in 2010 – said the initiatives focused “more on regulatory aspects.”

“The timeline is that these laws started heavy on individual protections with barely a mention of business.” – Lindsay to the Spokesman-Review

In 2015, lawmakers approved a bill to legalize CBD for epileptic children; but Gov. Butch Otter vetoed the measure. Earlier this year a debate to legalize CBD oil turned into a shouting match and the bill ended up being held in a Senate committee, preventing it from further consideration. During a Health and Welfare Committee meeting Chairman Lee Heider told his colleagues behind closed doors – in violation of the state’s open meetings law – that the bill was opposed by the governor, state prosecutors, and the office of drug policy. The measure had cleared the House with a veto-proof majority.

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