It’s up to Idaho voters to approve medical marijuana

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Once again, Idaho legislators are making laws that go against most Idahoans beliefs.

A new study for the Idaho Statesman shows that the vast majority of Idaho residents are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.

Overall, 68% said medical marijuana use should be legal in Idaho. This comes close to a similar poll in 2019 with 72% in favor of medical marijuana.

In an Idaho Statesman poll, only 18% said medical marijuana should remain illegal.

The study also found that legalization of medical marijuana is supported by a large majority of every demographic, except for those who describe themselves as very conservative – who still support it with a margin of 13, ranging from 47% to 34%.

The common line of Republican legislators that “we represent the wishes of the people of Idaho” just doesn’t work.

This time around, the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act was not voted on, but the organizers, Kind Idaho, are ready to try again for the vote in November 2024. Kind Idaho was authorized to start collecting signatures again on October 14 and has until April 14, 2024 to collect the necessary signatures, Joe Evans told the Idaho Statesman.

Our study also shows strong support for the decriminalization of marijuana.

Only 11% of our respondents said that possession of small amounts of marijuana should be punished by imprisonment; 43% say the penalty should be a fine; 42% say there shouldn’t be a penalty at all.

SurveyUSA conducted online and telephone interviews with 550 adults in Idaho in the week of October 17. The adult pool of respondents to the survey was weighted according to the US census goals by gender, age, race, education, and home ownership.

This is similar to the Medicaid debate from just a few years ago. Idaho lawmakers, demanding some sort of mandate from conservative Idaho, fought Medicaid expansion with all their might – until overwhelming majority voters approved it in 2018, with 61% support.

Idaho’s legislature has had a chance to do something.

During a legislative session in 2021, Jeremy Kitzhaber, a retired US Air Force sergeant with terminal cancer, proposed a sensible and comprehensive law allowing medicinal marijuana in Idaho.

After Kitzhaber’s testimony was convincing, at least it was printed.

But it was never even heard in committee.

Not only that, but at the same session, Idaho lawmakers went in the opposite direction by proposing – and passing in the Senate – a constitutional amendment that would prohibit the legalization of marijuana.

“We have a responsibility to protect our children, our families, our communities from the drug scourge and the drug culture that we have seen becoming clear across the country,” Republican Senator Scott Grow said, opening the debate at a Senate meeting. legislation it sponsored, according to The Associated Press.

A constitutional amendment never made it to the House of Representatives, and Idaho voters never saw it.

However, if Idaho voters had voted for it, it would likely have ended in a spectacular failure based on the results of our poll.

Lawmakers are clearly not on the same page as Idahoans when it comes to using medical marijuana.

Like the expansion of Medicaid, it requires a citizens’ initiative to do so.

The Statesman editorials are an unsigned editorial opinion from the Idaho Statesman. Board members include Opinion Editor Scott McIntosh, Review Writer Bryan Clark, Editor Chadd Cripe, Editorial Editors Dana Oland and Jim Keyser, and community members Johanna Jones and Maryanne Jordan.

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