Idaho governor’s latest move could hinder cannabis legalization attempts

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Just days after an anti-cannabis legalization measure was rejected by the Idaho Legislature, a powerful prohibitionist effort was initiated by Governor Brad Little.

A report published by the Associated Press confirmed that, in mid-April, the state’s Governor signed legislation into effect that would make it more difficult to get medical cannabis legalization referendums or initiatives featured on ballots.

Reporters noted how the legislation signed by Little “is widely seen as an attempt to stop a medical [cannabis] initiative” being introduced across the state.

Measure to prevent recreational cannabis legalization in Idaho was shot down by the House 

Back on April 15, a bill that could have potentially prevented cannabis legalization without two-thirds of the Legislature approving it was dismissed by the Idaho House. In response to this, the Republican Governor inked a measure that does not bode well with Idaho’s cannabis advocates.

According to cannabis lobbyists, the measure signed by Gov. Little makes it more tricky for cannabis reform to transpire. Legislators were informed by the governor of his motives for signing the legislation — he is supporting state residents who feel that city voters have too much control over what happens in the initiative process.

The recently-filed law, which is anticipated to be contested in state and federal courts, will likely affect the turnout of a medical cannabis initiative that proponents are attempting to get on the Idaho ballot next November.

Idaho’s measure to prevent cannabis legalization previously passed in the Senate

Last month, the cannabis-supporting people of Idaho felt confident that their dreams of legalization could become reality in the near future. Unfortunately, feelings of optimism have turned to defeat following the announcement of Gov. Little’s prohibitionist plan. 

Prior to Gov. Little signing the aforementioned measure into effect, a proposed constitutional amendment that would have roadblocked the legalization of medical cannabis in Idaho without the approval of two-thirds of the Legislature died in the state House. 

Before failing with a 42-28 vote, it was initially approved in the Senate. Had the measure bagged 47 votes, it would have progressed. However, the amendment was opposed by Democratic members of the House, along with some members of the Republican-led House.

Idaho is one of the final three states in the U.S. that have not yet legalized cannabis in some form. Nonetheless, pro-cannabis lobbyists have been gathering plenty of support to include a legalization initiative in November 2022.