Idaho Activists Push for Medical Cannabis in 2024

An advocacy group is determined to bring medical cannabis to Idaho, one of the last remaining states with no form of legal weed. The group is called Kind Idaho, and its supporters are currently rounding up signatures to get the proposal on next year’s ballot.

Medical Cannabis in 2024

Kind Idaho Leads Signature Drive

The group's treasurer Joe Evans said the goal is simply to legalize “medical marijuana for cardholders in Idaho.” “This allows them to enter, meet with a doctor and determine whether the diagnosis justifies the use of medical cannabis to support recovery because we all understand what vaping does to our lungs. And then they get a card. And that allows them to go to the dispensary for it,” Evans told local news station KTVB.

Previous Efforts Have Repeatedly Failed 

Here’s more from the station on what the group is pursuing: “Kind Idaho is working to gather signatures on their petitions. They have until April 14 next year to get about 63,000 signatures from registered voters to make the ballot. It’s a major task, adding that Idaho is one of five states with no legal cannabis on any level.”

The group launched its efforts to get on the 2024 ballot last year, the latest in a decade of failed efforts to legalize medical cannabis treatment in Idaho. In 2012, activists could not gather sufficient signatures for their medical cannabis proposal to qualify for the ballot. It happened again two years later, with a signature drive falling short. Medical cannabis campaigns in 2015 and 2016 both fizzled out over ballot technicalities.

The majority of Idaho Residents Support Medical Pot

Evans and company hope this time will be different –– and the public might be on their side. Last year, a poll found that 68% of Idaho adults believe medical cannabis should be legalized.

Proposal Would Not Allow Recreational Use

Evans and other supporters of the proposal are stressing that the initiative would not legalize recreational marijuana use. “Nor are we looking at a full decriminalization, or let’s, you know, give people medicine, medical cannabis for headaches,” Evans told KTVB.

Idaho Surrounded by Legal States

Idaho is, however, surrounded by states that have legalized recreational pot for adults: Washington and Oregon to the west, Nevada to the south, and Montana to the east. Wyoming and Utah are the only states bordering Idaho that have not ended the prohibition on pot.

That confluence of geography and federalism has prompted many Idaho residents to cross the border to obtain some legal weed.

Border Pot Shops Serve Idaho Customers

Cannabis businesses in Ontario, Oregon –– located about an hour from Idaho’s capital city of Boise –– have served hordes of cross-state customers. “The politicians have been able to have this scenario where they say that they don’t have legal cannabis,” Steve Meland, owner of Hotbox Farms in Ontario, told NPR earlier this year. “But in all actuality, we all know there’s legal cannabis in Boise.”

“There are over a million people within a hundred-mile radius of the store,” Meland added. “Of course, they are serving a broader market.”

Ontario, Oregon Sees Cannabis Business Boom 

NPR reported that Meland’s business is “a big player in an economic boom that’s happened since Ontario allowed recreational pot shops in 2018.” “There are now twelve dispensaries in this small farming town once mostly known for inventing the tater tot. Ontario now sells more pot per capita than anywhere else in Oregon. The industry employs about 600 people. Many get health insurance, and most – like their customers – appear to be commuting here from Idaho,” the outlet said.

Legal Discrepancies Stoke Secession Debate

According to NPR, that boom “has quickly become the latest flashpoint in a larger political and cultural battle that’s been heating up since 2020, when a group of Oregonians from the rural eastern side of the state first began circulating petitions about a proposal to secede from the largely blue state and join conservative Idaho.”


After reading the article "Idaho Activists Push for Medical Cannabis in 2024," it is essential to explore the piece "Colorado's Cannabis Party Buses: A New Business Venture." While the first article highlights the ongoing efforts of activists in Idaho to legalize medical cannabis, the second article provides an intriguing look into an emerging business trend in Colorado.

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