Medical Marijuana Growers-Utah

In this July file photo, Darren Johnson, a hemp processor, holds raw hemp that will be used to make CBD oil at his processing facility, Wasatch Extraction, in Salt Lake City.

Proponents of a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Idaho can start collecting signatures.

The official language is complete and the Attorney General’s office has forwarded the legal titles to the Secretary of State’s office, Secretary of State Lawerence Denney announced Friday.

The initiative, which is being sponsored by the Idaho Cannabis Coalition, would establish a registry of patients, caregivers, growers and agents who could use or possess medical marijuana and allow patients to possess up to 4 ounces of marijuana or up to six plants. (A caregiver could possess up to the same amount per patient.)

Eleven states have legalized recreational marijuana and another 23 have legalized medical marijuana. Idaho is one of just three states that hasn’t legalized cannabis in any form. This year bills to legalize hemp in Idaho, which has been legal federally since last year’s Farm Bill took effect, failed to pass the Legislature. Three states bordering Idaho allow recreational marijuana, and Wyoming is the only neighboring state that doesn’t allow medical marijuana.

The initiative’s proponents will need to gather the signatures of 55,057 registered voters, or 6 percent of the number of registered voters at the time of the November 2018 election. The signatures must be distributed across at least 18 of the state’s 35 legislative districts, with the signatures 6 percent of registered voters in 18 districts. Its proponents have until April 30, 2020 to gather signatures to qualify for the November 2020 ballot.

What little polling there has been has shown comfortable majorities of Idahoans support medical marijuana but oppose recreational marijuana.

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757.

Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.