|Committee Chair Rep. Janice McGeachin: “It’s probably much less toxic than a lot of the pharmaceutical drugs that are produced that people take now”|
The first hearing to review a bill that would permit the use of marijuana by seriously ill Idaho residents was held on Wednesday, marking the first time such legislation has ever been granted a public hearing in the Idaho House of Representatives.
The Health & Welfare Committee heard testimony in support of HB 19, which would allow seriously and chronically ill Idahoans to use marijuana to treat certain conditions with doctors’ recommendations.
This bill, introduced by Rep. Tom Trail (R-Moscow), contains very specific criteria to qualify for the program and for the production of medical marijuana. If passed, it would be the strictest and most tightly regulated medical marijuana law in the nation — which, unfortunately, also means it would be the least patient-friendly.
|Photo: Idaho Secretary of State|
|Bill sponsor Rep. Tom Trail: “This legislation seeks to protect seriously ill residents of Idaho from arrest and prosecution for using a treatment method recommended by their physician”|
After hearing from advocates and medical marijuana patients, many lawmakers agreed that it was time to start learning about the benefits of medical marijuana and discussing the possibility of starting such a program in Idaho.
“Personally, I guess my opinion is that it’s probably much less toxic than a lot of the pharmaceutical drugs that are produced that people take now,” said Committee Chairwoman Janice McGeachin (R-Idaho Falls). “To me, this is just kind of a very first step … to start talking about it and learning about it.”
“Like the compassionate laws of our neighbors, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Canada, this legislation seeks to protect seriously ill residents of Idaho from arrest and prosecution for using a treatment method recommended by their physician in the normal course of treatment,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Trail, said.
“However, we have the benefit of learning from our neighboring states’ experiences,” Trail said. “This bill includes adequate state regulation of the program and safeguards to ensure that our medical marijuana program is not abused. This bill also reinforces the belief that the doctor-patient relationship should govern the decision to use medical marijuana, not the federal government or law enforcement.”
The hearings on HB 19 are scheduled to continue Monday, April 4 at 1:30 p.m., according to the Marijuana Policy Project.