Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Tuesday, October 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 23° Clear

Huckleberries Online

2 tokes nearer Idaho state line

SR colleague Scott Maben put together this analysis re: the states with legalized pot that touch Idaho's borders:

Idaho is an island of abstinence on the legal weed frontier.

The state shares 77 percent of its border with pot-friendly states, made even friendlier Tuesday with victories for looser marijuana laws in Nevada and Montana. If you add in the 45-mile boundary with British Columbia, where medical pot is legal, 80 percent of Idaho now borders bud country.

Recreational marijuana already is legal in Washington and Oregon, and in Nevada, where medical pot has been legal, voters just approved recreational sales as well. Those three states together account for 669 miles of the Gem State's 1,605-mile perimeter.

Also Tuesday, Montana voters loosened limits on that state's medical marijuana law. Idaho shares a 567-mile mountainous border with the Treasure State.

Medical marijuana is permitted in British Columbia, and Canada is moving toward decriminalizing marijuana nationally in 2017.

But in Idaho and the bordering states of Utah and Wyoming, complete bans on pot remain.

In Idaho, possession of less than 3 ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison or a $1,000 fine. More than that, up to a pound, and it's a felony with the maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

There's little chance of Idaho's socially conservative Legislature warming up to any form of legal marijuana. And efforts to put a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot failed this year and two years ago.

Elisha Figueroa, administrator of the Idaho Office of Drug Policy, said earlier this year, "It is well known that marijuana use adversely affects the health and developing brains of children and adolescents and legalization increases access to this harmful drug."

D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

Follow Dave online: