Idaho Senate Committee Introduces Bill Allowing Cannabis Oil Medication


  • Jeff Lowe

The Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee this morning approved the introduction of a bill to relax Idaho's marijuana prohibition, allowing for the use of some cannabis oils in the treatment of illnesses like epilepsy.

Sponsored by Boise Republican Sen. Curt McKenzie, the measure would amend current Idaho statute strictly forbidding any form of marijuana to "clarify that cannabidiol oil is not under the definition of 'marijuana' for purposes of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act," according to the Senate calendar description.

Easing restrictions on cannabidiol would mean access to treatments currently illegal in Idaho but allowed in 11 other states. The Carey family, of Boise, has lobbied lawmakers to lift the ban on certain types of cannabis-based medications, which could be used to treat 9-year-old Alexis Carey, who suffers from a life-threatening epileptic disorder known as Dravet syndrome.

"It could be lifesaving," Alexis' mother, Clare Carey, told Boise Weekly  in January. "Any one of Alexis' seizures could be life-threatening. It [medication] should all be available."  

Boise State Public Radio reports that McKenzie, who is joined by Iona Republican Rep. Tom Loertscher in introducing the bill, said that while Idaho has made clear its zero-tolerance stance toward marijuana, "[T]his is a completely different kind of program." 

According to the Associated Press, the bill will likely head for a hearing, in which public testimony will be gathered.