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State Politicians Push Back on Marijuana

In what appears to be a state level push back reacting to a Blaine County resolution calling for decriminalization of marijuana (see last month’s article), two proposals were brought forward in the Idaho Senate opposing a soft stance on weed. Of the two, only one passed the Senate and was referred to the House.

The resolution that failed would have asked the federal government to come down hard on the states of Washington and Colorado whose voters overwhelmingly voted to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol last November. The issue is related to Idaho because legalization in those states makes marijuana easier to get in ours. The resolution that passed officially proclaims that the Idaho Legislature opposes marijuana legalization.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy organization that tracks marijuana issues, A February 2011 Boise State University Public Policy Survey found that 74% of respondents favor allowing “terminally and seriously ill patients to use and purchase marijuana for medical purposes,” indicating strong support for legislation to allow medical marijuana in our state.

For those seeking legalization, the resolutions do not directly oppose the right to get a measure on the Idaho ballot, but they do give a “sense of the Legislature” and the strong language in the one that passed (by a 29 to 5 vote) is telling: “it’s the policy of the Idaho Legislature that the state should never legalize or decriminalize marijuana for any purpose, including medicinal uses.”

The clear message is, “don’t expect us to follow the path of states that have legalized marijuana.” And for advocates, it means they will have to convert the apparent support in the citizenry into signatures on a petition and then votes on a ballot measure.

For all the political posturing, it is telling that marijuana legalization is even an issue. Clearly, marijuana is on the radar screen.

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