What a weird thing Sen. C. Scott Grow, R-Eagle, is up to.
He’s the sponsor of a constitutional amendment that would forever ban the “production, manufacture, transportation, sale, delivery, dispensing, distribution, possession or use” of marijuana within the state of Idaho.
Clearly Idaho lawmakers — who cannot even bring themselves to legalize the non- psychotropic hemp — are out of step with voters in the rest of country. Medicinal marijuana is legal in 34 states. Recreational use is legal in 11. Idaho is surrounded by far more lenient states, including Washington — where voters approved recreational use in 2012; Oregon, which did the same in 2014; Nevada, where a ballot measure legalized recreational use in 2016; Utah, where voters agreed to allow medicinal applications in 2018, and Montana, where voters approved recreational use just last year.
There’s also the chance that Democratic control of Congress will translate into more relaxed national laws and regulations.
Under those circumstances, what would be the point of amending Idaho’s Constitution?
It’s possible Idaho’s conservative congressional delegation can arrange for the kind of legal carve-out that would allow the Gem State to maintain the status quo within its borders.
Of course, Grow’s critics may want to pursue how such an amendment can withstand assertions that it stands in restraint of interstate commerce under the U.S. Constitution.
More to the point, why would Idaho taxpayers want to continue paying a premium to imprison people for an activity that is sanctioned — indeed taxed and regulated — just across the borders? Every person who is sent to jail or prison on a marijuana conviction is one more family disrupted and one more productive citizen removed from the workforce.