Idaho and Cannabis. What You Should Know
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For those who live in Idaho and have contemplated getting a medical marijuana card, it’s essential to know what the laws look like in the state. Doing research on the regulations around cannabis in Idaho will help keep citizens of the state informed on what is allowed and what isn’t when it comes to marijuana usage in the state.
Currently, Idaho is one of the strictest states in the country when it comes to marijuana for both medical and recreational use. This makes it even more important to know and understand the laws that have been put in place when it comes to cannabis in the state of Idaho.
Is Marijuana Legal in Idaho?
As of now, marijuana in all forms is illegal. There have been many efforts to legalize cannabis, but all efforts have failed to date. However, that hasn’t stopped efforts from slowing down, and many believe that medical marijuana will be legalized in Idaho in the coming years. Between the citizens of the state signing petitions that ask for it and Idaho’s neighboring states legalizing both medical and recreational cannabis, it seems the pressure is mounting from all sides.
Currently, the only product allowed in Idaho that remotely relates to marijuana is 0% THC cannabidiol (CBD) products. However, there are also strict guidelines on these products, making it that only certain ones are allowed. CBD products are only legal in Idaho if they come from one of the five specific cares of the plant: mature stalks, fiber from stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds, compounds from the stalks, or a sterilized seed that cannot be grown.
Does Idaho Allow for Medical Marijuana?
Both recreational and medical marijuana is currently illegal throughout the state of Idaho, regardless of underlying medical conditions. However, the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act is a movement that is trying to change that fact and gives us an idea of what the restrictions would look like if medical cannabis were legalized in the state. Once the petition receives enough signatures, the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act will reach ballots and be left up to Idaho voters to decide its fate.
If medical marijuana becomes legal in Idaho, there will be a list of medical conditions that will be eligible for medical cannabis. In order to apply for a medical card when the time comes, applicants will have to be diagnosed by an Idaho physician with at least one of the following conditions:
- HIV or AIDS
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic pain
- Muscle spasms
- Terminal illnesses with less than 12 months of life expectancy
This list is subject to change both before and after potential legalization, so it’s important to keep up to date on any changes that may come about.
Legalizing Weed in Idaho
As mentioned, the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act is currently the most viable chance of legalizing medical cannabis in the state of Idaho. If the act makes it onto ballots and then is voted to become law, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare will have to adopt the rules no later than 180 days after the act is approved by voters. The Department of Health and Welfare will act as the regulating agency in Idaho and will handle all cardholder applications as well as any licensing for dispensaries, cultivators, and processors as the needs arise.
If cannabis becomes legal, potential cardholders would need to get written proof from their physician that they suffer from a medical condition that qualifies, then fill out the medical card application that will be available. Applicants will need to expect to have to pay an application fee, though that fee won’t be able to exceed $100. If approved, cards will be valid for one year and then must be renewed following a similar process.
Those potential patients under 18 will have to appoint a designated caregiver to file a cardholder application for them, should the opportunity arise. Idaho caregiver laws will likely look very similar to the laws for cardholders themselves.
Are Edibles Legal in Idaho?
Edibles of any kind in Idaho are illegal at this time since marijuana is illegal. It is not currently clear what forms of medical marijuana would become legal if the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act succeeds in its plan. However, many states with medical marijuana don’t legalize edibles until later on, so there’s no guarantee that they will be legal even when medical marijuana is legalized in Idaho.
Can I Buy Marijuana in Idaho Without a Medical Card?
Assuming medical marijuana becomes legal in Idaho, residents would still need to present a medical card in order to purchase marijuana. If a person doesn’t receive a medical marijuana card, they would be unable to purchase any marijuana, even from the dispensaries that would be opened.
Possession of marijuana when it’s not legal to have is considered a felony in Idaho if the person has three ounces or more, up to one pound. Less than three ounces is considered a misdemeanor. Both of these charges can lead to jail time because Idaho has made no moves to decriminalize the possession of small quantities of marijuana for personal use. It’s important to know the potential consequences of buying marijuana illegally, even if medical marijuana becomes legal in Idaho.
Dispensaries in Idaho
If medical marijuana becomes legal in Idaho, the Departments of Health and Welfare would be in charge of both approving dispensary applications and overseeing the business handled by each one. Per the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act, the department would be required to create a scoring system to weigh applicants and determine who can open a dispensary, with an advantage being given to veterans.
If applying to open a dispensary, the organization opening the proposed business would be required to have at least one Idaho resident operating as a primary officer. In addition, no applicant is allowed to have any type of financial relationship with a medical practitioner who would be referring people for medical marijuana.
At this time, it’s unknown what the fees for dispensary applications and licenses would be, but they vary over a few thousand dollars in other states that have legalized medical marijuana.
Idaho Caregiver Laws
Assuming the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act is passed into law, the act includes information on allowing for caregivers to apply for a medical marijuana card. Most of the details on how this process would work are still unclear, but there are many other states we can look at for potential information.
Most states that have legalized medical marijuana allow anyone over 18 to apply for a medical card, assuming they have a qualifying medical condition. However, anyone under 18 is able to delegate a caregiver that would apply for a separate medical card on their behalf. The application process is similar to the normal application, though some states have stricter guidelines on who can be a caregiver and how many people they can care for at one time.
Most states require caregivers to be at least 21 years old and have no felonies or drug-related offenses on their record for a certain number of years. While it’s unclear if these would be the same guidelines Idaho would put into effect, it’s worth noting them so Idaho residents can have some idea of what to expect.
Does Idaho Recognize Medical Marijuana from Other States?
Since all marijuana is currently illegal in Idaho, the state doesn’t recognize medical marijuana cards or products from other states. This means that if you are someone from out of state looking to travel to Idaho, you wouldn’t be able to bring any medical marijuana across state lines. In addition, you wouldn’t be able to purchase any marijuana while in the state of Idaho.
Reciprocity is one of the benefits that come along with medical marijuana in many states, so some say it should be expected to see reciprocity in some form if and when medical marijuana becomes legal in Idaho. So, keep an eye out for updates if you are a frequent traveler to Idaho. However, in the meantime, leave your medical card at home when going to Idaho.
Idaho is one of the few states left that doesn’t allow for the legal use of marijuana in any form for any reason. Currently, the only legal products remotely close to marijuana are 0% THC CBD products. However, these products also have strict guidelines they must follow as well. There’s an almost constant effort in Idaho to legalize marijuana in one form or another, so we may see the laws change in the coming years.
Right now, the state government is wholly against legalization, but changes in petition laws have made it more likely that a petition can be brought to a vote if there’s enough support. With that in mind, keep an eye on the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act, as that’s the current most viable chance at legalizing medical marijuana in Idaho.