The respected Boise State University Public Policy survey, a poll that’s been conducted statewide for more than 20 years, yielded an interesting result Tuesday: 74 percent support for allowing “terminally and seriously ill patients to use and purchase marijuana for medical purposes.”
Just 23 percent said “no” to medical marijuana in the statewide survey, and three percent said they didn’t know, reports Betsy Z. Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review
“I’m not surprised at all,” said state Rep. Tom Trail (R-Moscow), who has pending legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Idaho
, “because in similar states out here in the West, the results are 65 to 75 percent (in favor), as long as you focus, like we have, very narrowly on medical marijuana for folks who are in excruciating pain with long-term diseases.”
|Photo: Idaho Secretary of State
|Rep. Tom Trail says it’s time for lawmakers to help reduce the suffering of seriously ill patients in Idaho.
The survey asked adults in 525 randomly selected Idaho households. It included cell phone as well as landline respondents, and has a margin of error of plus or minus five percent.
When it comes to dispensaries, results were evenly split. Upon being asked if Idaho “should allow the sale and manufacture of marijuana for medical purposes,” 46 percent agreed and 46 percent disagreed.
The overwhelmingly favorable results on the “terminally and seriously ill” question were so startling that “we kept thinking, ‘This has to be wrong,’ ” said Carole Nemnich, associate director of the BSU Public Policy Center.
“The substantial amount of support that we have received over the last few years of activism in the Gem State has shown us that we were correct to believe in the compassion of our neighbors,” Serra Frank, founding director of Idaho Moms for Marijuana
, told Toke of the Town
. “Now, the Boise State University Public Policy Survey strengthens our belief and our resolve.”
“Whether it is through Rep. Tom Trail’s Idaho Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, or through Compassionate Idaho’s Idaho Medical Choice Act
, it is only a matter of time before Idahoans have a new alternative to traditional pharmaceutical medications,” Frank told us.
|Photo: Serra Frank
|Serra Frank, Idaho Moms for Marijuana: “It is only a matter of time before Idahoans have a new alternative to traditional pharmaceutical medications”
”It is exciting to see so much change happening in my home state,” Frank said. “I’m very encouraged by the wonderful people who are standing up for cannabis in Idaho.”
“It’s no surprise to me,” agreed Theresa Knox, director of research and networking at Moms for Marijuana. “Most people, if asked on a personal level, would want others to have access to relief from suffering. This is because we’re human beings who care about those who are ill or in pain, not a huge corporation whose only concern is the profit margin.”
“That type of thinking has no place in health care,” Knox told Toke of the Town. “Kudos, Idaho!”
The survey asked Idahoans about their views on state policy every year for two decades, but the last one was taken in 2007, as budget cuts nixed the survey for the past two years. The new survey, conducted between November 18 and January 8, is the 20th one taken.
Rep. Trail said he’s working now to make sure his medical marijuana bill, HB 19, gets a hearing. The bill, called the Idaho Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, is pending in the House Health and Welfare Committee.
Neighboring Washington, Montana, Oregon and Nevada have all legalized medical cannabis, but the herb is still illegal for any purpose in Idaho, with possession — even of traces — classified as a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
Anyone under 18 caught with any amount of marijuana also loses their driver’s license for a year, and possession of three ounces or more is a felony, carrying up to a five-year prison sentence and fines of up to $10,000.
Trail said his bill is modeled after a similarly restrictive measure in New Jersey. It would allow up to two ounces of cannabis per patient every 28 days.