by gavin dahl
Nearly a year ago, BW published my in-depth look at medical marijuana's supporters. Initially, my editor and I wondered if Idaho could save money on policing and generate revenue through taxation. Turns out, however, that decriminalization, taxation and lowest police priority are all off the table.
Tom Trail (R-Moscow) circulated a press release Monday promising to dialog with stakeholders for nine months before introducing his long-awaited bill next year. His proposal faces an uphill battle, as elected evangelicals and many Democrats have been unwilling to stand up to 'soft on drugs' pressure. But his approach, pushing for the most restrictive MMJ law in the nation, could gain support beyond states' rights Libertarians and youth with their heads in the clouds.
Modeling Idaho's plan after New Jersey's and carefully blocking loopholes exploited in other states, Trail hopes to quell the fears from law enforcement and state officials who puffed up their rhetoric the last time he mentioned it. The key this round is only allowing legal access for patients diagnosed with specific, severe illnesses like cancer, AIDS, Lou Gehrig's disease, muscular dystrophy, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.
The personable Ag Committee Chairman promises growing and distribution will be monitored by the state. Though his recent hemp efforts went nowhere, he knows the ins and outs of regulating agriculture. Meanwhile, patients would be limited to just two ounces of herb per month and forbidden from growing their own, or rolling it up in public.
While he is not looking to pass the pipe to recreational marijuana users, or promising to line the pockets of the sober folks in charge of Idaho's budget, he is angling for thumbs up from the Department of Health and Welfare and the Idaho Medical Association. Ultimately, his proposal makes clear who this is about. Trail is trying to help his suffering constituents. From the press release:
Rep. Trail was approached over a year ago by several constituents who suffered from chronic health conditions—brain cancer, glaucoma and other severe health conditions. They receive prescriptions from their doctors and have them filled in Washington State. One constituent, who has multiple sclerosis, said his doctors have recommended marijuana to treat neuralgia, which causes him to lose the feeling and use of his right arm and shoulders. The M.S. Society has shown that this drug will help slow the progression of the disease. Rep. Trail has talked to many doctors who support this type of legislation.