Fearing an aggressive push by marijuana backers to legalize medical pot in Idaho, the Kootenai Alliance for Children and Families in Couer d’Alene is already bracing for a big fight next year.
The organization will hold a meeting on Oct. 14 to discuss the dangers of allowing residents to legally grow, buy and sell marijuana. It’s all part of an effort to sway voters against the idea of legalizing medical pot like Idaho’s neighbors Washington and Montana – as well as 14 other states and the District of Columbia – have already done.
Republican Rep. Tom Trail of Moscow, Idaho, reportedly plans to introduce a bill in 2012 to legalize medical pot, as he did earlier this year.
But former federal drug prosecutor Monte Stiles told the Coeur d’ Alene Press that paving the way for medical marijuana would create a “nightmare” legal scenario, lead to increased drug use and create a great deal of chaos.
“It’s about smoking weed, that’s what they’re pushing,” Stiles said. “They’re not even clever at disguising it anymore … It’s another part of an unending surrender to the drug culture.”
Backers of medical marijuana argue that the drug helps patients alleviate debilitating pain, and they refute the notion that dispensaries lead to an increase in crime or disrupt communities.
At this point, the family alliance faces an uphill battle. Numerous states have approved medical marijuana laws in recent years, increasing its acceptance nationwide. And previous polls have shown a high level of support for medical marijuana in Idaho.