An unexpected medical cannabis bill was introduced late last week in the Idaho House of Representatives.
In the USA, Idaho and Nebraska are the only two holdout states not permitting the use of cannabis medicinally (or recreationally) in any form.
But Idaho’s House Health and Welfare Committee Chairman John Vander Woude’s personal bill introduced last Friday would provide for a tightly regulated system for medical cannabis in the state.
Under House Bill 370, patients diagnosed with serious conditions such as cancer, ALS, AIDS, wasting syndrome, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, debilitating seizures, and terminal illness, would be eligible for a medical cannabis card valid for up to one year before it would need to be renewed. Patients would be able to source products from Idaho-licensed chemists.
Forms of medical cannabis permitted would be ingestible products – tablets, chewables, droplets, or pills – containing a maximum of ten milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Raw, smoked or vaped medical cannabis products would not be permitted.
Those wishing to produce medical cannabis for the state would have to obtain a production license in Idaho, and will be strictly regulated. The hoops to be jumped through include the submission of an operating plan, inspections, testing of product and criminal background checks.
Various comments about House Bill 370 don’t hold a lot of hope that it will have legs, but it may provide the basis for future discussions.
Non-profit organization Kind Idaho announced in November last year that it would be pushing for a ballot initiative to legalize medical cannabis in 2024. At least 74,000 signatures will be needed to qualify its Idaho Medical Marijuana Act for the ballot. Further information on the petition and wording of the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act can be found here.
In a 2022 poll, 68% of Idaho adults surveyed said the use of marijuana for medical purposes should be made legal.
To say Idaho has been incredibly conservative in its approach to cannabis, even just industrial hemp, would be an understatement. Idaho was the last US state to have a ban on hemp cultivation. Governor Brad Little signed House Bill 126 into law in 2021 and it wasn’t until last year that the first (legal) seed and fibre crops were planted.