Idaho Dispatch

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Bi-Partisan Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced in Idaho House

By • February 8, 2021

A new bill has been introduced in the Idaho Legislature to establish medicinal marijuana in the state of Idaho that would be known as the Sergeant Kitzhaber Medical Cannabis Act.

HB 108 was introduced this morning by House Minority Leader Rep. Ilana Rubel (D-Boise) and Rep. Mike Kingsley (R-Lewiston) in the House Health and Welfare Committee.

The bill would allow medicinal marijuana under specific medical conditions and controls. The bill does not legalize medical cannabis but decriminalizes it under specific conditions outlined in the bill.

HB 108 is named after a disabled veteran, Jeremy Kitzhaber, who has a rare form of cancer that is terminal. Kitzhaber has been an outspoken critic of another piece of legislation, SJR 101, that would ban medical marijuana in Idaho.

Kitzhaber said he is taking large amounts of opioids for his pain and conditions that he suffers as a result of his service in the Air Force. He displayed a number of the medicines he currently takes on a daily basis, including one that he says costs $13,000 a month. Kitzhaber helped write the bill and covered it in great detail.

Kitzhaber addressed concerns from lawmakers, law enforcement, other citizens who are worried about abuse and other fallout from the bill. He told the committee he has been re-writing the bill for years to help ensure Idaho doesn’t lose control of the medical marijuana situation if the bill passes.

For instance, Kitzhaber said that if a card-holding medical marijuana user used their card to get medical marijuana for another person, their card would be revoked indefinitely.

Toward the end of his presentation, Kitzhaber said that people who are already getting it illegally would continue to do so. He said that it isn’t worth the time, money, and risk for someone to try and get a medical marijuana card when they can just go across state lines and get it as they are doing now.

After Kitzhaber’s presentation, both Rubel and Kingsley spoke just briefly about the legislation.

Kingsley, one of the bill sponsors, said this during today’s hearing,

I know this is a controversial issue, but I feel it’s so important to Idahoans and if you can cosponsor this bill, it would really help us get it through.

Rep. Laurie Likely (R-Jerome) asked about the “Fiscal Note” and the enforcement mechanism for the bill and the potential cost of enforcement.

Rubel told Likely,

Yes, that is worked into the bill. It is going to be supervised by the Board of Pharmacy, so all of these medical cannabis pharmacies would be subject to inspection and enforcement through their standard enforcement mechanism.

Because Kitzhaber covered the bill at length and answered questions himself, the questions to Kingsley and Rubel were extremely limited.

The bill passed on a voice vote and will be scheduled for a full public hearing.

Tags: Ilana Rubel, Jeremy Kitzhaber, Medical Marijuana, Mike Kingsley, RS 28412