2020 medical marijuana ballot petition approved for circulation
Last update: August 15, 2019
The Idaho legislative session came to a close this year with marijuana policy reform bills falling short of the finish line. But fortunately, voters may have an opportunity to change that in the 2020 election. After years of inaction in the legislature, a group of advocates recently filed a petition with the Secretary of State to legalize medical marijuana through a ballot initiative next year. You can read a summary of the proposal here.
In early August, the petition was approved for circulation. Supporters need to collect just over 55,000 signatures throughout the state by April 30 in order to qualify for the 2020 ballot.
Bill Esbensen, a leader of the campaign, spoke to the press after filing the petition: “Nobody should be condemned to suffer just because they live in the wrong state. Our initiative brings Idaho up to speed with states like Oklahoma, Arkansas, and West Virginia by protecting people who are just trying to treat their medical condition with a non-toxic plant.”
The campaign and signature gathering effort are ramping up. Click here to stay up to date on the 2020 effort and sign up for Idaho-specific email updates from MPP!
Learn more about Idaho's marijuana laws
Under current Idaho law, an individual charged with possession of up to an ounce of marijuana faces a year in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine. Unfortunately, this draconian law hits minority communities the hardest. According to the ACLU, black Idahoans are over two and half times more likely to be arrested for possession than their white neighbors. A bipartisan effort to reduce these penalties was introduced in 2018 by Rep. Eric Redman (R-Athol) and John Gannon (D-Boise), H0491, but unfortunately it never received a hearing.
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