Idaho Joins States Seeking Marijuana Reform in 2016

Idaho Joins States Seeking Marijuana Reform in 2016

Idaho has joined the ranks of states pushing for marijuana legalization in 2016. 

A group called New Approach Idaho, formed by members of the former advocacy group Compassionate Idaho and Moms for Marijuana International, announced Friday that it plans to bring an initiative to the 2016 ballot for the legalization of medical marijuana. Full legalization of all forms, medical and recreational, is the group’s long-term goal.

New Approach Idaho will have to battle some of the strictest marijuana laws in the country. Marijuana possession is punishable by up to one year in jail—as is simple possession of paraphernalia. Throw an additional six months to the sentence if you’re guilty of public use or intoxication. (What do they do, stake out a Ben & Jerry’s and see who goes back for thirds?) Backing up its strict penalties, the state legislature made a statement formally opposing any form of legalization in 2013.

Regardless, New Approach Idaho is hopeful given the pro-pot political tides of this year’s election. The group’s first step is to collect the signatures required to get the initiative on the ballot—a feat activists failed to accomplish in 2012 and 2014.

Surprisingly, given that all attempts to get any sort of marijuana initiative on the Idaho ballot have failed in the past, a poll from Boise State in 2010 found that 74% of Idaho residents support marijuana use for “terminally or seriously ill patients.” Hopefully all the research and the national majority of opinion have only increased this percentage, and those in need in the Gem State won’t have to wait much longer.