Two competing views of how Idaho should deal with psychoactive drugs are playing out in the Legislature right now. One would legalize, with stringent controls, medical cannabis, aka medical marijuana.
The other wants voters to do the work. If passed, it would ask Idahoans to decide whether to put a drug law into the Idaho Constitution.
I’m no fan of recreational drugs. However, the medical marijuana bill is about as far from recreational drugs as it’s possible to get.
It’s the result of work by Retired Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy Kitzhaber. He’s dying of cancer. He’s been told he got it from exposure to radiation and other chemicals during the more than 20 years he served in the Air Force.
He doesn’t want to break Idaho laws so he doesn’t use medical marijuana as fellow veterans in 36 other states can. Instead, this decorated veteran suffers the painful, dangerous, addictive side-effects of opioid painkillers. Listen to his heart-breaking story here: youtu.be/Y1w_QDkWmoY.
The Sergeant Kitzhaber Medical Cannabis Act is House Bill 108. The Journal published an excellent article on the bill Wednesday. Kitzhaber worked with state and local police and others for input in drafting the act which was introduced this past week.
The proposal advanced by Sen. Scott Grow, R-Eagle, would make any “psychoactive drug” that was illegal last year, illegal forever per the Idaho Constitution. Grow reportedly told fellow senators his proposal, if approved by a majority of Idaho voters at the November 2022 General Election, would protect “the Idaho way of life.”
Grow doesn’t like how neighboring states have passed laws to legalize drugs that are illegal under federal law. “Neighboring states have legalized controlled substances, to the detriment of their children, families and communities,” he told the Senate State Affairs committee.
Washington and Oregon have legalized marijuana.