As more states legalize marijuana, whether to change Idaho’s laws has been coming up more often in political debate and has become more prominent among the issues that divide the state’s politicians and voters by party and ideology.
While Democratic gubernatorial candidates A.J. Balukoff and Paulette Jordan agreed on most issues, Jordan staked out a position to Balukoff’s left on marijuana. She supports medical marijuana and has said she favors decriminalizing marijuana possession and would support full legalization if the people back it by popular vote. Jordan won the primary, and the Idaho Democratic Party amended its platform at its convention in June to call for legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana use.
Republican Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has supported the state’s current laws, which are stricter than most and increasingly stand out from Idaho’s neighbors, three of which have legalized recreational use. He has opposed allowing widespread access to cannabidiol oil, a non-psychoactive oil that supporters say can help treat serious seizures, putting him at odds even with some in his own party. Otter has, however, allowed a limited state-regulated trial program for the CBD medication Epidiolex.
Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who is running to succeed Otter, would largely continue Otter’s policies on the issue. Little said in a statement this week he opposes allowing either recreational or medicinal marijuana. He supported the Epidiolex trial program and is open to allowing more widespread access to CBD oil, with conditions.
“I will support additional CBD oil use, as long as we know for sure that it helps children and adults, and it is regulated and quality-controlled and does not negatively affect our local law enforcement’s ability to keep our children safe,” Little said in a statement.
Poll: Idahoans generally support legalization of medical marijuana
The GOP is somewhat split on