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Tuesday, September 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Senate panel passes both anti-marijuana measures

The Senate State Affairs Committee has approved both SCR 112 and SJM 101 on voice votes, sending them to the full Senate for debate. Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, was the only one to ask to be recorded as voting “no” on SCR 112, and he audibly voted no on SJM 101. Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, noted that a city in her district has passed three measures supporting decriminalizing marijuana use, but those conflict with state and federal law. “So the conversation then is the crux,” she said. “How far do we go where we aren’t putting people at risk or encouraging more use, and still being able to provide the medical uses that we’re talking about here? … I do not want to … dismiss the importance of that.” She spoke emotionally about having family members suffer from the effects of cancer treatment, including nausea caused by chemotherapy. “These people need relief, and we need to be able to feed them, and they need nutrients,” she said. “I hope we keep that in mind when we have this conversation.”

Stennett joined the majority in voting to pass the measures to the full Senate, but the vote was considerably louder on the first measure than the second, SJM 101, which calls on the feds to go into states that have legalized marijuana for medical or other uses and enforce federal law. Only a few senators audibly voted “yes.” “They weren’t enthusiastic about it,” committee Chairman Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, who didn’t vote, said afterward. “I think there will be members that will vote ‘no’ on the floor.” McKenzie said senators are concerned about issues of state sovereignty. “ I’m keeping my powder dry until we get on the floor, but I think that’s an issue,” McKenzie said.

Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, lead sponsor of both measures, said, “I think there’s a difference here. … It’s impacting our state because it started in Washington, it started in Oregon, it started in California. Now it’s in Colorado, so it’s spreading out.” Winder said of his two resolutions, “It doesn’t change any law. It just makes a statement on behalf of the Legislature.”

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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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