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Idaho Plans for Medical Cannabis Legalization on the Ballot in 2024

A non-profit organization called Kind Idaho, which was originally founded in 2021, recently announced that it would be pushing for an initiative to legalize medical cannabis in 2024.

Kind Idaho still has time to gather enough signatures, at least 74,000, to be eligible for its Idaho Medical Marijuana Act to the ballot. Joe Evans from Kind Idaho says that supporters are eager to legalize medical cannabis. “One of the things that we’re looking at is making sure that those are available and legal, without necessarily presenting the opportunity for abuse,” Evans told KTVB7. “So it’s a combination of education on what the potential uses are, and responsible use.”

Idaho is among 12 states where medical marijuana has not been legalized. Evans points out the safety and success of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids. “When it comes to patient advocacy seeing medical marijuana, which is a successful, nonlethal pain management program that is nearly impossible to overdose on, is one of those options that many are looking for simply because they don’t want to have to carry around the significant number of prescriptions, pain management, oxycodone, you know, opiates,” Evans said.

Evans emphasizes that legal access to justice is crucial. “We want the opportunity for Idaho residents to succeed on their own terms. And for many of those people on their own terms, the best solution is medical marijuana,” Evans stated.

Kind Idaho will begin attending events starting Dec. 1 to spread the word about medical marijuana, increase social media presence and start collecting signatures. 

Recent polls from Idaho StatesmanIt was found that 68% of Idaho residents support legalizing medical marijuana. Idaho advocates have tried unsuccessfully to legalize medical marijuana for 10 years.

Although the state’s first legal ballot initiative regarding medical cannabis was passed in 2012, not enough people signed it to go on to the ballot. 2013 saw the Idaho legislature pass a resolution that prohibited cannabis use in any form. Advocates began to gather signatures in 2013 for the 2014 ballot. However, they failed to get enough. New Approach Idaho received signatures in 2015. It wanted to establish a medical cannabis program. Small amounts would be decriminalized. However, the Idaho government withdrew its petition the next year due to language issues. A second ballot initiative emerged later in 2016. A legalization campaign was already underway in 2016, but it was stopped by a lack of signatures.

Idaho Governor. In April 2021, Brad Little signed House Bill 1265. This made Idaho the 50th country to allow industrial hemp. The Idaho Department of Agriculture declared that CBD and hemp products were not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are therefore prohibited from being sold as legal feed for livestock. “As such, these products are not approved feed ingredients and cannot lawfully be added to or incorporated into commercial feed. This includes feeds, treats and remedies intended for pets, livestock, or any other animal,” the Idaho Department of Agriculture said. The restriction came into effect Nov. 1.

National Animal Group, among others, has spoken out against the restriction and asked legislators for the lifting of the ban. “This decision will likely harm animals whose owners will no longer be able to access the products their pets rely on for a variety of health and wellness reasons,” stated a petition. “It will also have a serious economic impact on Idaho businesses that manufacture and sell these products.”