Idaho Senate committee delays vote on measure to ban marijuana, psychoactive drugs

After two hours of public comments, a state Senate committee on Monday delayed a vote on a measure to ban psychoactive drugs that are already illegal in Idaho.

The constitutional amendment, introduced by Sen. C. Scott Grow, R-Eagle, would put the prohibition against now-illicit drugs in the state’s Constitution instead of just code — if voters passed it. Putting the ban in the Idaho Constitution would make it more difficult to legalize marijuana and other drugs in the future.

Grow said the measure would preserve Idaho’s values and “ensure the health and safety” of children. He cited Oregon’s recent drug reform measure that voters approved in November, in which small amounts of several street drugs were decriminalized, as an “end game where all drug legalization is headed.”

Some opponents of the measure questioned whether lawmakers this session would focus on legalizing hemp, which contains small amounts of THC, after it was legalized at the federal level. Braden Jensen, of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, spoke in favor of Grow’s amendment but clarified that the federation supports the legalization of hemp. Grow promised that lawmakers plan to legalize hemp this session.

Idaho is the only state that has not legalized hemp to line up its laws with the federal code.

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