Opinion » Bill Cope

Mr. Cope's Cave: Pot-Sniffing Pavement?


Got a question for the people who run this state. (Not to name names, but by "people who run this state," of course I mean the GOP/ALEC/IACI/LDS/Tea Party/Canyon County loonies/Farm Bureau/Arid Club/Nazarene/agri-mining-lumber lobbying bloc/Bonner County loonies/Albertson Foundation/Idaho Power powers/Idaho Cattle Association/VanderSloot-Hagadone-Simplot/St. Lukes Consortium that comes up with one empty suit after another to occupy the governor's big chair, and to keep a lick-spittle majority in the Legislature.)

Boys, here's my question: How do you intend to keep a lid on this marijuana thing when there's a state on the other side of every Idaho border where it's legal?

Don't kid yourself that it's not going to happen. The western flank is already gone. We might have guessed that the snowball rolling out of Colorado would gather in Washington and Oregon next. It's on the move in California and my guess is by 2020, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York will go. Not far behind will be Florida, the whole upper Midwest, and when Ohio figures out how to do it without the Big Weed cartel taking over, they'll be in. (That Ohio—never known as a hotbed of liberal sentiments—even considered it in Tuesday's election made me realize this tide is coming in fast.)

And Nevada, of course. I'd give odds that Nevada, with all that wink-wink,"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" vibe, will jump the curve and be on board very soon. I predict even Montana will do it. Quirky, hard-to-pin-down Montana, with whom Idaho shares a 530-mile border.

And keep an eye on Canada. Remember, you boys of Boise, if you drive 95 far enough north, you will find yourself in British Columbia. Medical marijuana is already legal there, and general legalization is sure to follow.

Admittedly, I may be exaggerating a tad. Utah probably won't be smiling benignly on pot any time soon, nor will Wyoming... probably... as both those states are more or less twisting in the same time warp as Idaho. Even so, that would take only 325 miles (all figures approximate) out of the total 1,530-plus that circumscribes the Gem State, leaving more than 1,200 miles of border on the other side of which the population is free to toke up... do a doobie... go brownie baking with Mary Jane... whatever the kids are calling it these days.

So are you still planning on slapping Cheech and Chong into prison every time a state trooper finds a half-smoked joint in the ashtray, even if they are citizens of Oregon or Washington? What if some WSU frat boys forget to leave that baggie at home when they come over from Pullman to have a Moscow beer?... are they toast? (I mean... in the legal sense, too?)

When a Potlatch employee from Clarkston goes to work at the plant in Lewiston, what happens when he fails a pee test that he wouldn't even have to take back home, 3 or 4 miles west?

Are you going to stop every vehicle coming back from dropping someone off at the Spokane airport and search the car for paraphernalia?

Are you going to relegate the entire Idaho State Police force to weed watch? Are you going to hand out felony convictions to people doing what, if only they were across the border in Baker or Missoula or Winnemucca, would be perfectly legal? Are you going to continue ruining young lives that wouldn't be ruined at all had the pothead been savvy enough to be born in Portland or Seattle? And just how overwhelming do you want our prison system to be, anyway?... particularly since you can't seem to run the one we have now worth a damn.

I know you boys have a lot on your mind... what with all that privatizing public education and keeping animal rights activists off of dairy farms and trying to figure out a way to get your grubby little paws on all that federal land... so I don't mean to pressure you. But you're going to have to figure this out, and I mean sooner than later. And just think of how refreshing it would be if, just f***ing once, Idaho wasn't left standing by itself out in the Back 40 of history.