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Marijuana – will it create jobs, industry?

Robb Hicken

Robb Hicken

When Tom Trail, District 6 State Representative, first started talking about marijuana, he used the term hemp.
Legalized industrial hemp, a green, low impact farm product could be used in thousands of foods, clothing and fashion products. Its low THC levels would not impact the drug trade. Not enough dope in it to smoke.
He put up a resolution that would legalize production. It wilted and died in the Idaho House Agricultural Affairs Committee despite the argument that it could be a multi-million dollar industry for Idaho farmers, create jobs and add to state tax revenues.
Hemp proposal uprooted? Yes. End of debate? Not yet.
A week ago, Trail, who is a Republican from Moscow, rolled up a joint proposal making marijuana difficult to obtain but legally obtainable.
“Idaho is not on the cutting edge of the legalization of medical marijuana,” Trail told the crowd at a festival on University of Idaho’s campus.
There are now 14 states that have passed legislation to legalize medical marijuana – 15 states are putting out initiatives or have legislative action in formation.
Trail cites numerous discussions with those who have AIDS, cancer and terminal pain.
“They’re scared to death when they go out to buy marijuana to relieve their pain, because they could be put in jail,” Trail said.
Trail’s proposed legislation would be the most restrictive medical marijuana law in the nation because it would permit doctors to prescribe it for only a set list of serious chronic illnesses.
The law would also forbid patients from growing their own marijuana and using it in public, and it would regulate the drug under the strict conditions used to track the distribution of medically prescribed opiates like Oxycontin and morphine. Patients would be limited to two ounces of marijuana per month.
He says states should be able to have medical marijuana laws without interference from the federal government.
But, through the smoke, are people ready to accept legalized marijuana?
California was the first state to approve medical marijuana, in 1996, starting what some are calling the “Green Rush” to legalize marijuana. While the laws are in place to control its distribution, most Americans still oppose legalizing marijuana.
In spite of concerns, a larger majority believes pot has a medical benefit and that government should allow its use for that purpose, according to an Associated Press-CNBC poll.
If marijuana was decriminalized, more Americans favor private businesses selling it (54 percent) than the government (36 percent). But just 24 percent of those polled said they would be interested in investing in a pot company.
About a quarter of those polled said legalized pot would lead to more jobs in their communities; 57 percent said there would be no effect. About a third think the economy would improve, while 46 percent foresee no impact.
Trail said draft of the proposal must be reviewed by the Department of Health and Welfare, law enforcement, the Idaho Medical Association and many other stakeholders.
The plan is to start a dialogue with all the stakeholders and prepare to introduce the legislation in the 2011 legislative session.
If you take all the arguments – a renewable product, with agricultural impact, giving hope and relief to pain sufferers, creating jobs aiding the economy, then it may be just what the economy needs.
Robb Hicken is managing editor of the Idaho Business Review and was reporting on the initiative that passed in California. Information queries can be addressed to ttrail@moscow.com.

About Robb Hicken


  1. Cars and houses are not very cheap and not everybody is able to buy it. However, business loans was invented to help different people in such kind of hard situations.

  2. I’m no expert on drug policy, but this seems like a senseless prohibition. I read a statistic that said something like > 45% of kids in the 6th grade have smoked pot. The number of adults who have experimented exceeds 75%. That’s all from memory so the numbers could be a little wrong. Look, I agree, we don’t need more drugs, I understand that. But sometimes reality comes up and slaps you in the face. This is one of those moments. It’s time to legalize it, tax it, regulate it, but our existing policies aren’t working & haven’t been working & now the drug cartels are in power. I can think of many pragmatic reasons to face reality for our collective good.

    This reminds me of the plea 100 campus administrators made a year or two ago about lowering the drinking age to 18. I go overseas & don’t see a problem with some of the approaches other countries take on that subject. If I’m right, some countries allow the kids to drink well before they’re allowed to drive. That actually takes the “forbidden fruit” allure of drinking away & allows them to understand drinking before they’re legally behind the wheel of an automobile.

    I don’t know, but it seems like our puritanical approach is achieving the opposite results we are hoping for. On top of that, we’re by default contributing to the lawlessness that is now coming across the border from Mexico. I don’t know boys & girls, but seems like we need to put the facts on the table and deal with the real issue. Ignoring it is not helping.

  3. If the LDS grand poo-bah goes in a closet & has a “revelation” like Ezra Taft Beneon did with drinking Coke (they threatened to cut off sugar purchases from Utah & Idaho beet farmers)…then you can take industrial hemp to bank, Brother Hicken. Praise the Lord and pass the offering plate!

  4. Reefer Madness is well entrenched in Idaho. Take a look at some simple numbers…

    TOBACCO …………………… 400,000
    ALCOHOL …………………… 100,000
    ALL LEGAL DRUGS ………….20,000
    ALL ILLEGAL DRUGS ……….15,000
    CAFFEINE …………………….2,000
    ASPIRIN ………………………500
    MARIJUANA …………………. 0
    When does the logic and reasoning become important? You treat marijuana like it is some kind of dangerous poison. The facts say different. Shouldn’t law be based on truth, logic and reasoning rather than propaganda? The intention of a law should be to protect us from harm. Where is the harm? Who is the victim?