Unfortunately, due to public health risks associated with person-to-person signature gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic, advocates with the Idaho Cannabis Coalition have suspended efforts to place a medical cannabis initiative on the ballot this year.
Thanks to the hard work of volunteers around the state, the campaign gathered an impressive 40,000 voter signatures out of the total 55,057 required by May 1 to qualify. Campaign spokesperson Russ Belville vowed that the campaign will continue and plans to put medical marijuana up for a vote in 2022. A poll from 2019 found that Idahoans support legalizing medical marijuana by a 73%-26% margin.
Idaho remains the only state in the country without any kind of law recognizing the medical or therapeutic value of cannabis. Earlier this year, a committee in Idaho’s House of Representatives narrowly defeated a bill that would have legalized industrial hemp in the state.
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 nearly four times more likely to be arrested for possession than their white neighbors.