Republican Rep. of Idaho introduces bill to legalize medical marijuana

Most states around Idaho allow medical or recreational marijuana, like Utah.

Clark Corbin, Idaho Capital Sun

A new bill designed to provide a “highly regulated system” for medical cannabis was introduced in the Idaho House of Representatives on Friday morning.

House Health and Human Services Committee Chairman John Vander Wood, Republican, introduced House Bill 370, the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act, as a private bill on the Idaho House floor Friday morning.

Rather than following the more traditional practice of submitting bills to the legislative committee for an introductory hearing, Vander Woude took the unusual step of submitting the bill as a personal bill.

In practice, personal bills usually do not move forward because they bypass the committee process. They are also often submitted to initiate discussion and lay the foundation for future policy discussions.

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There was no public testimony or debate on the new medical marijuana bill on Friday because the bill was not introduced to a public committee meeting.

The bill arrived unexpectedly and with little fanfare as it did not make it onto the legislative agenda and the Idaho House of Representatives individual bill deadline was pushed back to January 27th.

This isn’t the first time the Idaho legislature has introduced medical marijuana laws. In 2012, former Congressman Tom Trail (R) introduced a medical marijuana bill that never passed.

What does the Idaho Medical Cannabis Act allow?

Under the new Idaho Medical Cannabis Act, patients with serious medical conditions such as cancer, AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), wasting syndrome, epilepsy, debilitating seizures, Crohn’s disease, or terminal illness, Eligible for medical cannabis cards. Valid for up to 1 year before renewal.

The bill would allow “ingestible” cannabis processed as tablets, drops, pills, or chewables containing up to 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol. This should only be obtained from a licensed Idaho pharmacist. The bill does not allow the use of cannabis in its natural form, smoking cannabis or vape.

Under the bill, cannabis producers would be required to obtain state licenses to grow, process and process medical cannabis. Cannabis producers will be subject to criminal background checks and tests.

Most states around Idaho allow medical cannabis, like Utah, or recreational cannabis, like Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Montana. Wyoming does not allow medical or recreational cannabis.

This article was originally published by the Idaho Capital Sun.

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Photo courtesy of Brian Chambren.

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