State Sen. Chuck Winder has a simple message for states that have relaxed laws on the use of marijuana: Not here in Idaho.
The Senate State Affairs Committee voted unanimously Feb. 8 to introduce and hold a hearing on a resolution pitched by the Boise Republican opposing marijuana use in any form.
The measure also urges President Barack Obama and the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce existing federal laws tied to moving drugs across state lines.
“It’s kind of like the immigration issue,” Winder said. “If (the federal government is) not enforcing the immigration issue, then it’s left to the states to do it. All we’re saying is, (marijuana) is causing problems to the cities and jurisdictions, so please enforce federal law as it comes to transportation of illegal drugs.”
Last fall, voters in Washington state approved an initiative allowing adults over 21 to have up to an ounce of pot. Colorado voters approved a similar initiative in November.
Washington is expected to begin issuing licenses to marijuana growers, processors and retail stores, and the state’s Liquor Control Board is developing rules for the fledgling marijuana industry. Sales in Washington are set to begin late this year.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson met with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder last month, but were given no guidance on how the federal government will respond to plans in Washington and Colorado to set up legal markets for marijuana.
Winder said law enforcement officials along Idaho’s western border are already dealing with drug trafficking due to the legalization of marijuana for medical use in Oregon, or with Idahoans crossing the border to obtain medical marijuana cards in Oregon or Montana
Winder says he hopes the federal government takes steps to oppose Washington’s law and to help states battle illegal trafficking of the drug.
The resolution comes after former Moscow Republican Rep. Tom Trail proposed legalizing marijuana for seriously or terminally ill patients. Trail introduced legislation in 2012 and 2011, but both times his bill failed to gain support.