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Signatures for Idaho medical marijuana petition encouraged at Hemp Fest

In this Tuesday, March 28, 2017, photo, Meagan Holt holds a vial of cannabis oil she uses to comforts her daughter Maddie, Tuesday, March 28, 2017, after they attended a hearing at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., for House Bill 1060, which would allow parents or guardians to administer medical marijuana to children while at school or on a school bus. Maddie has a terminal genetic disease called Zellweger Syndrome, and used to have hourlong seizures, but Holt says that Maddie has found relief after treatment with cannabis oil and other pharmaceuticals. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
By Garrett Cabeza Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Marijuana advocates are hoping for plenty of ink on their medical marijuana petition Saturday during Moscow Hemp Fest.

The 21st annual Moscow Hemp Fest at East City Park will feature speakers, live music and vendors, but there will also be an area of the park where visitors can sign a petition for the legalization of medical marijuana. The Idaho Medical Marijuana Association is petitioning for a medical marijuana initiative to appear on the 2018 ballot, according to The website says it needs about 47,000 signatures for the initiative to get on the ballot. If it gets on the ballot and passes, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter cannot veto it, the website says.

Arlene Falcon, Moscow Hemp Fest organizer, said she estimates the IMMA is not halfway toward its signatures goal. She said signatures need to be from registered Idaho voters or else the signatures do not count.

“We haven’t given up and we still are trying to get signatures even though it’s a daunting task to get (47,000) signatures for the state,” Falcon said.

Falcon said Bill Esbenson, IMMA spokesperson, and Kobe Konrad, director of Green Majority, were scheduled to be at Moscow Hemp Fest to provide information about the petition, but they will not be able to make it. AGreen Majority representative, however, will be at Hemp Fest, Falcon said.

Green Majority is Idaho’s first legally operated dispensary and headshop, according to its website. Its mission is to campaign for the legalization of cannabis in Idaho until it can legally open its stores.

Adam Assenberg, a 57-year-old Colfax resident and medical marijuana user, will be one of the speakers Saturday.

Assenberg said he was attacked as a security guard in 1985 and broke nine vertebraes from his neck down to his tailbone. He said medical marijuana does the best job at reducing the chronic pain he has from the injury.

“I feel anyone that can go ahead and drink or smoke cigarettes should be legal to have medical marijuana or recreational marijuana,” Assenberg said.

At Hemp Fest, Assenberg said he plans to talk about how Otter needs to leave office before an attempt to legalize medical marijuana is made because the governor will veto a marijuana bill.

He also said if marijuana is legalized in Idaho, the state needs to do a better job than Washington of creating the laws so that recreational marijuana does not decimate medical marijuana, like Assenberg said it did in Washington.

“When they had medical marijuana farmers markets throughout the state of Washington you could get an ounce of marijuana for anywhere from $75 to $100 an ounce,” Assenberg said. “Now since they went ahead and put it into the recreational market, that same ounce of medicine now costs you $500.”

Moscow Hemp Fest is 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.