Idaho needs a study of marijuana legalization, not an ad campaign – Coeur d'Alene Press

In many ways, Idaho’s reluctance to experiment and try bold solutions to problems can be frustrating and no doubt holds us back as a state in some areas. In other ways, though, Idaho’s aversion to being an early adopter can be a good thing, as it allows the state to watch what other states are doing, learn from their experiences and avoid their mistakes.

Idaho is now surrounded by states and even a country that has some form of marijuana legalization, whether it’s medical or recreational.

Nearly all of Idaho’s surrounding states — Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Nevada and Montana — have legalized marijuana in some form. Recreational marijuana is now legal in 10 states across the United States, and medical marijuana is legal in 33.

This editorial board has urged the state to take a close look at approving medical marijuana, based on studies, sound science, facts and the experiences of others who have gone before us. Recreational marijuana is an even bigger leap that would require careful consideration.

What Idaho needs is a careful study of what works, what doesn’t work, what are the benefits and what are the costs associated with any legalization of marijuana, whether it be medical or recreational.

What Idaho doesn’t need is to spend taxpayer dollars on a simplistic advertising campaign on one side or the other that cherry-picks statistics and doesn’t contribute to a greater understanding of the issue.

Unfortunately, the Keep Idaho ad campaign run by Boise-based nonprofit DrugFree Idaho, Inc., which has put up a series of billboards citing statistics about states that have legalized marijuana, appears to be such a campaign.

We appreciate DrugFree Idaho’s position and their mission to keep drugs out of Idaho. That’s their job; that’s their role.

What we question is the spending of taxpayer

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