Idahoans have been purchasing the bulk of over nine million dollars worth of marijuana products sold just over the Oregon border for well over a year now.
Sales figures from the Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission reveal that marijuana sales in January 2022 totaled over $9.1 million from the nine pot shops in Malheur County, all located just over the Idaho border in Ontario, Oregon.
This continues a trend from 2021 where the monthly sales average was just over $9.2 million. January’s sales do represent a decrease of roughly $300,000 from January 2021.
Sales remain steady despite the opening in October 2021 of a 24-hour marijuana shop across the southern border in Jackpot, Nevada, just a 45 minute drive south from the Twin Falls metro area.
While the shops in Ontario primarily serve the Boise metro area in southwest Idaho, they also see customers from the south central Twin Falls area and even the southeastern Pocatello / Idaho Falls area. Idahoans drive as far as five hours one way to shop for marijuana legally in Ontario.
Analysts expected the new Nevada shop to siphon away some of the sales from Idahoans farther east, but if it has, the Ontario shops have increased sales to maintain the nine million dollar monthly average.
“It’s clear that Idahoans have a steady appetite for marijuana,” said Russ Belville, president of Legalize the Idaho Way, “and that police occasionally pulling over a car on the interstate to ransack with drug dogs is having no effect on that appetite. Idahoans continue to funnel marijuana tax money to Oregon and bring that marijuana back to Idaho. Why should Idaho taxpayers continue to waste money and ruin lives over a substance safer than alcohol that almost all our western neighbors have seen fit to tax and regulate?”
Belville is the proponent of PAMDA, an initiative to depenalize the personal possession of marijuana purchased legally out of state. “Every bit of marijuana bought in Ontario is marijuana that is not bought from a drug dealer in Idaho, marijuana that is free of contaminants and adulterants, marijuana that is clearly labeled and securely packaged, and marijuana that generated tax revenue and jobs. Even if we’ve decided we don’t want marijuana farms and pot shops in Idaho, shouldn’t we at least encourage Idahoans to use marijuana responsibly in a manner that doesn’t benefit cartels and criminals?”
Under PAMDA, Idahoans could purchase up to three ounces of marijuana products (an ounce of flower and two ounces of other products) at any legal marijuana shop out of state and bring it directly to their own homes or private property without threat of arrest. However, those purchases must remain in their state-approved, well-labeled, child-proof packaging and the possessor must retain their proof-of-purchase (a receipt).
Outside those narrow parameters, marijuana in Idaho would remain as illegal as it is today. Marijuana in a baggie, for instance, would be illegal. Selling marijuana would remain illegal. Using marijuana in public would be illegal.