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Idaho House Committee Moves Anti-Pot Measure Forward

We’re going at this because we’re sick, we’re out of time, we need access. Cancer patients are dying, right now."

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Both sides of a debate over Idaho's stance on marijuana fired a litany of statistics and opinions at members of the House State Affairs Committee this morning.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 112, a largely ceremonial bill, would state Idaho should never legalize marijuana for any purpose. However critics took issue with the wording of the measure itself.

Lindsey Rhinehart is executive director of Compassionate Idaho, which advocates for medical marijuana and plans to put the issue before Idaho voters with a statewide petition drive launched March 15. Rhinehart told lawmakers on section in particular of the bill was insulting.

"Whereas national pro-marijuana organizations have invested millions to push drug legalization in America, and have targeted Idaho for a "medical" marijuana initiative in 2014," the bill reads.

"We are not going at this from a 'medical' standpoint, and please note the quotes," Rhinehart told committee members. "We’re going at this because we’re sick, we’re out of time, we need access. Cancer patients are dying, right now."

Rhinehart told lawmakers she suffers from multiple sclerosis, and that chemicals found in marijuana can significantly impact her quality of life. She said the federal Food and Drug Administration had yet to approve a drug to aid her symptoms in the same way marijuana can.

However supporters of the bill, including Meridian Mayor Tammy De Weerd and Meridian Chief of Police Jeff Lavey, testified to urge lawmakers to give their "yes" vote.

Ultimately the committee approved the bill with a voice vote. Boise Democrat Rep. Holli Woodings was recorded as the only vote against the measure. The measure now moves to the full House for a vote.