Idaho House introduces late-session medical cannabis bill

A new bill designed to provide for a “tightly regulated system” of medical cannabis was introduced Friday morning in the Idaho House of Representatives. 

House Health and Welfare Committee Chairman John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, introduced House Bill 370, the Idaho Medical Cannabis Act, as a personal bill on the floor of the Idaho House on Friday morning. 

Vander Woude took the unusual step of introducing the bill as a personal bill rather than following the more traditional practice of bringing a draft bill to a legislative committee for an introductory hearing. 

In practice, personal bills typically do not advance — because they circumvent the committee process — and are often introduced to start a discussion and lay the groundwork for future policy discussions. 

Because the bill was not introduced in a public committee meeting or debated on the floor, there was no public testimony or discussion of the new medical marijuana bill Friday. 

The bill arrived unexpectedly and with little fanfare, as it did not appear on any legislative agendas and the Idaho House’s deadline to introduce personal bills was back on Jan. 27. 

This is not the first time Idaho legislators have introduced medical marijuana legislation. In 2012, former Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, introduced a medical marijuana bill that never passed, the Moscow-Pullman Daily News reported at the time.

What would the Idaho Medical Cannabis Act allow?

Under the new Idaho Medical Cannabis Act, patients with a significant medical condition such as cancer, AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), wasting syndrome, epilepsy, debilitating seizures, Crohn’s Disease or a terminal illness would be eligible for a medical cannabis card that would be valid for up to one year before renewal.

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The bill would allow for “ingestible” cannabis processed as a pill, droplet, tablet or chewable containing up to 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol, which must be obtained only from a licensed Idaho pharmacist. The bill would not allow for cannabis in its raw form or allow for cannabis to be smoked or vaped. 

Under the bill, cannabis producers would need to obtain a state license to grow, process and handle medical cannabis. Cannabis producers would be subject to criminal background checks and inspections. 

Most of Idaho’s surrounding states either allow medical cannabis, as Utah does, or recreational cannabis, as Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Montana do. Wyoming does not allow medical or recreational cannabis.

 

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