Lawmakers mull constitutional change to prevent legalizing marijuana – Idaho Mountain Express and Guide

A proposed measure in the Legislature would cement Idaho’s current laws on psychoactive drugs in the state Constitution, making it significantly more difficult for Idaho to legalize marijuana or other substances.

Senate Joint Resolution 101, introduced Monday by Sen. Scott Grow, R-Eagle, would prohibit the “production, manufacture, transportation, sale, delivery, dispensing, distribution, possession, or use of psychoactive drugs.” The amendment contains some exceptions, including prescription drugs that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and drugs that are undergoing clinical trials.

Marijuana and other psychoactive drugs are already banned under Idaho law. But such substances are only outlawed in state code, not in the Constitution—making it easier, in theory, to legalize them. Amendments to the state Constitution require not just the approval of the Legislature, but approval of a majority of Idaho voters as well.

In a presentation to the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday, Grow noted the recent legalization of marijuana in Montana and Oregon; the point of the amendment, Grow said, is to prevent Idaho from doing the same.

The proposal will receive a full hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee, which will then decide whether to send the resolution to the full Senate for a vote. If advanced, the amendment will need to pass both the Senate and House of Representatives before appearing on the ballot.

In some form, marijuana is legal in five of the six states that border Idaho. Utah allows medical use, while Washington, Oregon, Nevada and, most recently, Montana have fully legalized it. Marijuana remains illegal in Wyoming.

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