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Politics & Government

Idaho Group Aims To Get Medical Marijuana On Ballot

Heath Druzin
Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho group is trying to get medical marijuana on the 2020 ballot - they've got 10 months to gather signatures from around the state.


The Idaho Cannabis Coalition is led by Nampa resident John Belville. He suffers from peripheral nueropathy, a chronic disorder that causes excruciating pain. He says the doctors in Idaho prescribe powerful narcotics that don’t work and are damaging his health.

The former addiction counselor has found one thing that works, though, while across the state in Oregon, where marijuana is legal.

So I took this little eye dropper and put it under my tongue and waited about 15 minutes and the pain went away. Now, I don’t know what anyone thinks about anything else but I’ll tell you right now this stuff works," Belville says. 

The eye dropper contained cannabis oil. It’s illegal in Idaho, along with every other marijuana product. On Tuesday, Belville and his son, Russ Belville, announced a signature-gathering campaign to get medical marijuana on the ballot.


Russ Belville, who lives in Ontario, Oregon, said the success of Idaho’s recent Medicaid expansion initiative gives them confidence.


“I’m excited about the Medicaid expansion passing just because it shows once again the people of Idaho being ahead of the politicians.”


Idaho is an island of strict prohibition in the Mountain West. Nearly every one of the six neighboring states has legalized marijuana to some extent and the exception, Wyoming, allows CBD oil and hemp. 

The Coalition has its work cut out for it. They will need to gather about 55,000 signatures spread out over a certain number of Idaho’s legislative districts by next May.


Find Heath Druzin on Twitter @HDruzin

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