On Friday, Idaho Citizens Coalition Chairman and Chief Petitioner Russ Belville turned in to the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office the Personal Adult Marijuana Decriminalization Act (PAMDA) for 2022.
The final iteration of PAMDA follows a review from the state Attorney General. The review is for legal guidance, which revealed some flaws in wording that have since been corrected (see AG’s notes accompanying the full text).
Next, the office will create the Long and Short Titles for the PAMDA initiative, clearing the way for volunteers to begin collecting a goal of roughly 3,000 signatures from each of Idaho’s 35 state legislative districts.
PAMDA would not legalize retail marijuana shops, commercial marijuana farms, or home marijuana growing in Idaho as neighboring states have. Marijuana sales, cultivation, and use would still be criminal outside the very narrow exception of the responsible adults-only use and transfer of a small personal amount of marijuana on private property with permission of the owner, marijuana that must be purchased at a legal shop out of state and transported in sealed childproof containers with proof of purchase.
There’s no point worrying that PAMDA would bring marijuana into Idaho—it’s already here. That horse has left the barn. Idaho is surrounded by states with legal commercial marijuana industries eager to expand into the rapidly-growing Gem State. Small-time arrests of Idaho adults caught with legally-purchased marijuana are increasing as our police clearance rates for serious crimes keep declining. Idaho keeps welcoming in newcomers from states with legal marijuana, some who can’t understand why we’d jail adults for pot, others who don’t want to see the commercial pot market unfold here like it did in their state.
Idaho can be proactive about the increasing national, regional, and even local acceptance of marijuana by adopting PAMDA. It’s a reasonable allowance to respect the privacy of Idaho adults to behave responsibly in their own homes and private property, while keeping commercialization and cultivation outside our borders. It promotes temperance by establishing marijuana use as a private adult activity without civil or criminal sanction, but maintaining criminal punishment for marijuana activities outside private adult use.
Stay tuned to this blog for the announcement of signature gathering and how you can help us put PAMDA on the ballot.