A bill that would have hindered the legalization of cannabis and other substances without the approval of two-thirds of the state’s legislature was rejected in Idaho last week. The proposed amendment, which had already been cleared in the Senate, did not attain the 47 votes it needed to be approved in the House. If it had attained the two-thirds majority needed, voters in the state would have had the chance to vote on it next year.
During the two-hour debate held before voting, legislators in the House, a majority of whom are Republicans, disagreed on two themes: the damage cannabis could cause, particularly in young individuals who overindulge recreationally, and the help the drug could offer to those living in constant pain.
The vote saw liberal and conservative members of the chamber teaming up to outvote the initiative, which ended with every Democratic member in the chamber not supporting the initiative.
The legislators saw the measure as a reaction to the surrounding states that have passed measures legalizing or decriminalizing the recreational and medical use of cannabis.
The state of Idaho is one of the three states in the country that have no policy allowing their residents to possess cannabis products, even products with low THC amounts. However, residents of the state can cross the border in almost any direction and find themselves in a state where cannabis can be bought for medicinal and recreational purposes.
Lawmakers who supported the legislation gave examples of the states of Colorado, Washington, Oregon and California, noting that they didn’t want Idaho to end up like these states. Despite these examples, support for the use of medical cannabis in Idaho has been growing, with activists working toward getting a legalization measure on the ballot by next year.
The legislators who opposed the measure, a majority of whom stated that they’d never used cannabis and did not plan on trying it, stated that the measure could hinder the approval of drugs that could be useful because it was too extensive. They also noted that it would prevent the legalization of products such as CBD oil, which contain small THC amounts.
While the sponsors of the proposed amendment had focused on drugs such as methamphetamines and heroin, the debate almost entirely revolved around cannabis. Republican Rep. Chad Christensen stated that the measure was a cannabis legislation, which explains why he voted against it. Christensen observed that opioid use was the real issue in the state and that’s where the clamp down was needed.
While the rejection of the restrictive constitutional amendment gives Idaho residents hope that cannabis policy reform may be possible in future, they can at least access zero-THC hemp products made by firms such as The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (CSE: WTER). These include salves, lotions, gummies and powder packs.
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