Idaho Senate Approves Bill (SB 1218) to Ban Marijuana Advertising
In a move that could limit advocates’ ability to promote initiatives to legalize cannabis, the Idaho Senate passed a bill on Wednesday banning the promotion of marijuana in the state. The Senate passed measure SB 1218 with 21 to 14 votes and submitted the legislation to the House of Representatives for review.
During the debate on the bill, Senator Scott Grow, sponsor of the measure, said billboards in western Idaho advertise cannabis companies just across the border in Oregon, where recreational marijuana is legal for adults.
“People are encouraged to break the law,” said Grow. “They are encouraged to get what they know is illegal in Idaho.”
The previous Wednesday, the bill had been put in the fast lane for approval and received a committee hearing, at which the public was barely informed that it could attend. Even so, four citizens showed up at the meeting to oppose the measure, while no one showed up to speak for the bill. Their efforts were in vain, however, as the Republican majority on the panel approved the bill with a 7-2 vote on party-political grounds.
Serra Frank, a cannabis activist and organizer of Boise Hempfest, told the High Times that cannabis lawmakers will take extreme measures to thwart reforms.
“They introduced this bill late that evening without posting it online so that Idaho citizens could read and answer. The next morning, despite unanimous opposition from the audience, it was passed, ”wrote Frank in an email. “Your shady tactics and immoral attacks on the rights of Idaho citizens just continue to expose them to what they really are – fear of the inevitability of marijuana legalization in Idaho.”
“The Idaho Prohibitionists are fighting with all their might in this session to pass anything that makes it nearly impossible to reform Idaho’s harmful marijuana laws. From stifling our initiative process to a proposed amendment to the constitution that would have forever banned the legalization of drugs that are currently illegal in Idaho, ”she added.
SB 1218 could limit legalization efforts
Frank and other activists are concerned that the rash legislation could prevent more than promoting marijuana companies and could be used to suppress efforts to promote cannabis reform in Idaho.
“The recent attack on the citizens of Idaho is in violation of the protection of opinion, the press and the ability of all Idahoans to petition the government for redress for our grievances,” said Frank. “The words of SB 1218 are so vague and poorly crafted that it would punish anyone in Idaho to even promote marijuana legalization through a t-shirt, flyer, initiative like the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act, or even law Event like Boise Hempfest. “
After the committee meeting, Grow said he did not know how SB 1218 would affect attempts to collect signatures for initiatives to legalize cannabis.
“That would require a legal opinion,” said Grow.
Republican Senator Regina Bayer expressed reservations about the move, saying she was receiving nutritional supplement magazines advertising CBD oil containing THC, which is illegal in Idaho. She wondered if the bill would bring those with such materials under criminal charges.
“It’s in my mailbox. It’s on my doorstep. It’s on my kitchen counter. It’s advertising, ”she said. “I really wonder how this bill goes on and if there are any concerns there.”
Democratic Senator Grant Burgoyne opposed the bill, noting that residents of the state have been promoting illegal activity in Idaho without any action by lawmakers.
“There was a casino in Jackpot, Nevada that wanted me to take a fun bus to Nevada to do something in Nevada that I can only do with an Indian reservation here in Idaho because it’s illegal in Idaho to do. Said Burgoyne. “This is gambling.”
With the approval of SB 1218 in the Idaho Senate on Wednesday, the measure goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.