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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Trail: Medical marijuana could save state money

Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, says part of the idea behind his medical marijuana legislation is to save money for Idaho's money-strapped Medicaid program. “It’s a safe, nontoxic, nonaddictive drug, as contrasted to opiates like morphine, oxycontin and hydrocodone,” he said. “There could be a substantial savings to the state of Idaho by using medical marijuana, as contrasted to the other opiates that are legal today.” However, he said so far other Idaho lawmakers haven't been receptive. His bill, HB 19, has been assigned to the House Health & Welfare Committee.

Though neighboring Washington, Montana, Oregon and Nevada all have legalized medical marijuana, the substance is fully criminalized in Idaho, with possession of even traces classified as a misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Anyone younger than 18 caught with any amount of marijuana also will lose their driver’s license for a year, and possession of 3 ounces or more is a felony, carrying up to a five-year prison sentence and fines of up to $10,000. You can read my full story here at

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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