Idaho Senate approves constitutional ban on legal marijuana
Keith Ridler, Associated Press
BOISE (AP) — A proposed constitutional amendment that would prevent the legalization of pot and other psychoactive drugs cleared the Idaho Senate on Wednesday and is headed to the House.
The Senate mustered the two-thirds needed with a 24-11 vote to approve a joint resolution that bans all psychoactive drugs not already legal in the state.
Backers said it’s needed because surrounding states have legalized pot and other drugs, and it could happen in Idaho. Senators argued those states have seen a decline in health and an increase in crime.
Those opposed to the constitutional amendment say, if approved by voters, it would permanently ban medical marijuana patients with terminal illnesses or chronic pain.
If the House approves the legislation, it would go before voters in 2022 where it would need a simple majority.
Idaho is one of only three states without some sort of policy allowing residents to possess products with even low amounts of THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana.
Residents can cross the state border in nearly every direction and find themselves in a place where marijuana can be bought for recreational or medicinal purposes.
Support for Idaho medicinal marijuana use is growing, with legalization activists trying to get an initiative on the ballot in 2022.