Idaho just gave the OK to a group hoping to add medical cannabis legalization to the ballot for 2022. Those in support of the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act are now cleared to collect signatures.
Now, the real work of gathering signatures begins. In order to make the ballot, the act needs signatures from 6 percent of those who voted in the previous election and six percent of voters from half the state’s counties. In total, that will be about 68,000 signatures.
However, in addition to landing this number of signatures, there could still be challenges if the measure gets to the ballot, as the legislature in the state is still largely conservative. Currently, Idaho legislators are trying to push through a bill that would make it unconstitutional within the state to legalize all psychoactive substances, including medical cannabis.
This isn’t the first time medical cannabis advocates in Idaho have attempted to get a ballot measure added. They were hoping to gather enough signatures during the 2020 election, but the governor’s stay-at-home order put a stop to that before it began.
“There’s so many people in Idaho that suffer. And they’re tired of it,” Jackee Winters, head of the Medical Marijuana Act campaign, said about this new push to legalize medical cannabis. “It’s time for us to move. … It’s a great state. We’re wonderful people and we just need to be taking care of the people who matter.”
The Potential Medical Cannabis Program
If the ballot measure makes it, and then gets voted into law, those 21 and over with certain medical conditions, including serious conditions like cancer or terminal illness, could get prescriptions for up to four ounces of cannabis from a caregiver, after being prescribed by a licensed doctor.
The program would be managed by the state’s Department of Health and Welfare, who would deal with all the details of the industry, including licensing dispensaries and grows and overseeing production and sales. Those with limited access to dispensaries or financial trouble will be allowed to grow their own cannabis. All forms of cannabis would be allowed, although certain oils would remain banned.
The act would also make sure that it is still strictly illegal to use cannabis while driving or carrying out any other tasks that require attention to safety practices. There would be no cannabis use at public schools or on public transportation, and sales would only be legal under the right medical conditions.
The advocates supporting this medical cannabis act have until April 30 of 2022 to collect enough signatures. All signatures must come from registered voters.
If the measure does make it onto the ballot, it will only be after all signatures have been certified. It will then be voted on, and the future of medical cannabis in Idaho will once again be sealed.
If Idaho manages to get legal cannabis added to the ballot for 2022, there is a chance to circumvent the plans to bar legalization of psychoactive substances in the state, securing legal access to medical cannabis for residents in need.