On February 11, 2019, State Representative Caroline Troy (R–Genesee) introduced House Bill 122 (H0122). The stated purpose of the legislation is to “amend existing law to provide legislative intent; to provide for research, production, and regulation of hemp; and to provide an exception regarding tetrahydrocannabinols.” In short, the bill aims to make hemp plants, with a THC level of .3 or less, legal in Idaho.
Currently, food-grade hemp is legal to purchase in Idaho, but it is against Idaho law to grow the same hemp products that are already legally sold in Idaho stores. Changing the law to allow production of a product that is already sold in Idaho makes sense on its own but, in addition to that argument, a new federal law was just passed that separated hemp from marijuana in legal terms – removing any existing federal restrictions against growing hemp.
Although marijuana and hemp are similar plants, you can not get high from hemp. Supporters of House Bill 122 argue that hemp is very useful in making a wide range of commonly used products and that this change in law will have a positive impact on Idaho’s economy.
On February 12, H0122 was referred to the House Agricultural Affairs Committee, where it awaits further action.
Sponsor: Representative Caroline Troy (R–Genesee)
Co-Sponsor(s): Senators Grant Burgoyne, Mark Harris, Mary Souza, Jim Rice; Representatives Dorothy Moon, Tammy Nichols, Ron Mendive, Chris Abernathy, Heather Scott, John Green, Brooke Green, Tony Wisniewski, Caroline Troy, Bill Goesling, Mike Kingsley, Paul Shepherd, Terry Gestrin, Judy Boyle, Randy Armstrong, Ryan Kerby, Jake Ellis, John McCrostie, Sue Chew, John Gannon, Ilana Rubel, John Vander Woude, Melissa Wintrow, Christy Zito, Muffy Davis, Sally Toone, Chad Christensen, Bryan Zollinger, Greg Chaney, Mathew Erpelding, Thomas Dayley
Bill status: House Agricultural Affairs Committee (02.26.2019)
Lindsey Zea is a Policy and Research Associate with the Madison Liberty Institute. Lindsey holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from BYU-Idaho and loves finding applications of history to current events and political debates. She also serves as a Policy Analyst with the Better Cities Project (BCP) and formerly interned with the Libertas Institute in Utah.