Medical cannabis is not legal in the state of Idaho currently, but Russ Belville is on a mission to change that in 2020.
Belville is a spokesperson for the Idaho Cannabis Coalition (ICC) and has been working the issue of cannabis law reform since 2005.
Belville’s father John suffers from a painful condition known as peripheral neuropathy which he is forced to treat with a regimen of opioid painkillers to treat his intractable pain, as well as other pills to treat the side effects of the medication.
Stress from the daily doses pharmaceutical drugs has taken a toll on John’s body.
With the exception of Wyoming, every state that borders Idaho (as well as Canada to the north) has enacted medical cannabis laws, but that may change in November of 2020.
On Friday, August 9, Idaho Secretary of State Lawrence Denney announced that IMMA had been approved and its proponents can begin collecting signatures.
IMMA would establish a medical cannabis program in Idaho and protect participants from criminal prosecution and civil sanction.
“I’m not going to sit idly by and let another election cycle pass in the state of Idaho without the voters having a say in whether my father needs to continue paying outrageous prices on a fixed income for opiate painkillers that are killing him,” wrote Russ Belville on Facebook. “I think the people of Idaho are ready to allow sick and disabled adults to possess and use a non-toxic plant.”
Under IMMA, patients with a medical cannabis card would be permitted to grow up to six cannabis plants and possess up to four ounces of usable marijuana.
To qualify for next year’s ballot, ICC must collect 55,057 signatures from at least 6 percent of registered Idaho voters by April 30, 2020.
Signatures must be collected from across at least 18 of the state’s 35 legislative districts and submitted to county election officials no later than May 1, 2020.