BOISE — The Idaho House defeated a proposed anti-drug constitutional modification Thursday that sought to forbid Idaho from ever legalizing marijuana, with a half-dozen House Republicans saying Idahoans need medical marijuana approved and the Constitution shouldn’t be amended to foreclose that.
HJR 4 would have completely required a two-thirds vote of every home to legalize any drug that’s at present unlawful — together with medical marijuana and CBD oil, or different hemp merchandise containing any hint of THC. It wanted two-thirds assist from every home to be positioned on the November 2022 poll, or 47 “yes” votes within the House; the vote Thursday was 42-28 after a debate that stretched for greater than two hours.
The proposal drew bipartisan opposition, together with from Rep. Mike Kingsley, R-Lewiston, who drew laughter when he mentioned backers got here to him, and, “They said we’re going to get rid of psychotropic drugs in Idaho. And I said, finally, we’re getting rid of alcohol?”
“The people of Idaho overwhelmingly would like medical marijuana — it’s off the scales,” Kingsley advised the House. “Idaho is the last state to just hold out to not give people medicine that they need for cancer, for nausea. There’s so many people that medical marijuana works for, especially people that have bowel issues and bowel cancers, because opiates are very constipating. … I’ve looked at this a lot, and nobody has ever overdosed on cannabis. Think about that. How many people have overdosed from opiates? … I’ve seen how detrimental this drug is to people, and here we can give people an alternative.”
Backers of a medical marijuana initiative in Idaho had been cleared in February to start gathering signatures for a 2022 poll measure; Idaho is one in all simply three states, together with Nebraska and Kansas, that permit no medical marijuana in any kind. Both Nebraska and Kansas have medical marijuana laws pending this yr.
Kingsley mentioned in his hometown of Lewiston, he is aware of of a constituent who’s changing into a legal by driving throughout the bridge to Clarkston, Washington, to purchase drugs that’s the one factor that may relieve the constituent’s cancer-ridden aged mom’s ache.
“We’re causing people in Idaho to be criminals who need the medicine,” Kingsley mentioned. “I cannot think of a better definition of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. That’s what this bill will do.”
He known as on the House to defeat HJR 4, and take a look at as an alternative passing one thing just like the very restrictive medical marijuana invoice that was delivered to the Legislature this yr by Sgt. Jeremy Kitzhaber, an Iraq veteran with debilitating most cancers.
An earlier model of the proposed modification, SJR 101, handed the Senate on Feb. 3 on a 24-11 vote, reaching the two-thirds mark with out a single vote to spare. Changing the Idaho Constitution requires two-thirds assist from every home of the Legislature plus a majority vote of the individuals on the subsequent normal election.
Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, the measure’s lead House sponsor, mentioned, “When we consider the drug policy of the state, we ought to have the highest bar that we can for that policy. … These are very highly addictive and often abused drugs.”
“We have to buttress our state against Oregon-style and now Washington-style policy and the drugs that come with them,” DeMordaunt mentioned, telling the House the modification would promote “temperance and sobriety and morality.”
Rep. Ben Adams, R-Nampa, mentioned, “What I have heard people saying, is, ‘Hey, maybe we need a medicinal path forward on cannabis.’ And there’s a ballot initiative on that, that people are trying to collect signatures for. And if they get that, then the people go to the polls and they will vote either yes or not. Why do we have to have two questions that ask the opposite side of the same question?”
Adams, who like many House members debated greater than as soon as on the invoice — and practically two dozen spoke out within the debate — mentioned, “The state has never been the one that defined sobriety and morality in my home.”
Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, debating in favor of the modification, mentioned, “This does appear to have marijuana at the heart of this resolution. I’m fine with having that debate in this body.”
He mentioned states which have legalized leisure marijuana began with CBD oil, then medical use, after which leisure.
“It’s coming to Idaho unless this body draws a very clear line in the sand … that we do not want recreational marijuana,” he mentioned.
Rep. Marco Erickson, R-Idaho Falls, additionally urged assist for the measure.
“I’ve sat on the front lines and worked with families that are devastated and destroyed,” mentioned Erickson, who has a profession background in behavioral and psychological well being. “Now I’m in the Legislature. It’s my duty to stand up and speak on behalf of those families that need our help, and they don’t get our help when we pass policies that don’t protect them from things they don’t know they’re getting into. … They’ll tell you they never expected to go that far, they never expected to become a methamphetamine addict, they started small.” Erickson mentioned, “I love prevention. … In prevention, you get to stop the problem before it starts, so that’s where my passion is.”
Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley, mentioned she opposed the measure as a result of this yr’s industrial hemp legalization invoice solely legalized the manufacturing, processing and transportation of hemp as an agricultural product — it didn’t take away hemp with as much as 0.3% THC solely from Idaho’s record of Schedule 1 medication. That’s utilized in merchandise like CBD oil, salves and different merchandise.
“We know why this bill is coming forward, it’s because of the fear of marijuana,” Moon advised the House. “I get it. I’ve never used the stuff.”
But, she mentioned, “The hemp on Schedule 1 is a problem in this bill. Please consider that when you vote.”
Rep. Bruce Skaug, R-Nampa, supporting the proposed modification, mentioned he’s “a native Idahoan with ancestors that go back to pioneer time.”
He mentioned when he talks to newcomers to Idaho, they typically inform him, “Please don’t let Idaho become whatever city they moved from.”
They “inevitably” speak about how medication have modified their communities, he mentioned. “Now across the nation, we’re seeing this drug addiction flourishing, we’re seeing it hit some once-fine cities across the nation.”
House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, mentioned, “There are people coming to Idaho to get away from that crap, it’s not right. And if you’re not going to support this, you’re not going to support anything else to fix this, my friends.”
Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, objected, saying Moyle was impugning different members’ motives with regard to their votes. House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, cautioned Moyle, “You’re painting with a pretty broad brush.”
Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, mentioned she’s lengthy been anti-drug, and opposes leisure marijuana, however mentioned, “My mother got hooked on oxycontin as a 70-plus-year-old. We could not get her off it because she had pain issues. She ended up killing herself because of it.”
“So I am going to vote no, but it’s certainly not because I like drugs,” she mentioned.
Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, repeatedly fought again tears as he recounted a member of the family’s battle with medication.
“Let’s help the family. Let’s support this,” he mentioned. “Let’s do what little we can do. It’s going to come. We’re going to lose in the end. But let’s try now to do our best to at least slow it down and save one, two, some. I know this vote’s going to be close. … If just one of you will listen to me, don’t let another family go through this.”
Rep. Sue Chew, D-Boise, talking quietly, as is her wont, advised the House her father died due to habit.
“He had a lot of promise, and our family was pretty stricken with it,” she mentioned. “I would say let’s work to help our families, but this isn’t the way, and please vote no.”
The unique Senate model of the measure was championed by Sen. C. Scott Grow, R-Eagle, who additionally sponsored the marginally scaled-back House model after figuring out the Senate-passed model was “a bridge too far” for the House.
Without a constitutional modification, Grow warned, “a wave will roll over us … that will lead to legalization.”
Grow additionally advised the House State Affairs Committee in March that if a medical marijuana initiative and the constitutional modification had been on the identical November poll in 2022 and each handed, the modification would trump the initiative; and if marijuana had been legalized on the federal stage, it could stay unlawful in Idaho below the modification, until two-thirds of lawmakers in every home voted to alter that.