BOISE, ID — Medical marijuana may be coming to Idaho if a bill introduced by Republican Representative Tom Trail passes. The bill, House Bill 370, was introduced to the Idaho House on Tuesday.
If passed, patients with debilitating medical conditions would be dispensed up to 2 ounces of marijuana every 28 days from “alternative treatment centers.”
House Bill 370 states that “Compassion dictates that a distinction be made between medical and nonmedical uses of marijuana. Hence, the purpose of this chapter is to protect from arrest, prosecution, property forfeiture, and criminal or other penalties those patients who use marijuana to alleviate suffering from debilitating medical conditions, as well as their physicians, primary care givers and those who are authorized to produce marijuana for medical purposes.”
A signature campaign to place a voter initiative on the November ballot to legalize medical marijuana is also under way in Idaho. Trail would prefer that the House enact his bill instead, for regulation purposes. Trail believes that other states’ experience has shown that legislation with strict controls is preferable to a voter initiative.
Trail introduced a similar bill late last year. The first medical marijuana legislation introduced in Idaho in recent memory, last year’s House Bill 19, received an informational hearing in the House Health & Welfare Committee, but didn’t proceed beyond the committee.
Idaho joins a growing list of states that could legalize medical marijuana in 2012, joining Alabama, Florida, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Sixteen states, and the District of Columbia, already have legalized medical marijuana, despite ongoing federal opposition.