Zito: The Problem with SJR.101 (Psychoactive Drugs)

The bill that has generated the most discussion from constituents last week was Senate Joint Resolution 101 (SJR.101).

I will explain why I did not support this bill. I am not a supporter of recreational psychoactive drugs. I do see and understand the value of medical use of marijuana.

You will hear the term “incorporation by reference” used in the law and rule-making process. This means that by adding a code number, be it federal or state, to another code, or an IDAPA rule, the entire language of the “referenced” code becomes part of the law or rule that the code number has been added to.

Through the incorporation by reference process, “code” would be enshrined in our constitution if this resolution passes.

This is not good. These codes and statutes can change, thus the amendment to our constitution can change in meaning.

The constitution is not the place for code. Code is to enact the intent of the legislature to uphold constitutional intent. This proposal has it backward.

I am going to share some numbers that are close estimates as to what will happen to our constitution if this is passed. Remember, it is near impossible to have exact figures; however, these are close.

Senator Steven Vick gave me permission to share.

  • The average state constitution in the United States is approximately 39,000 words.
  • The Idaho Constitution is 25,523 words.
  • The full text of SJR.101 is 893 words.
  • If you include the code referenced, it is estimated that the constitution of the State of Idaho will grow from 25,523 words to approximately 67,627 words.

The Food and Drug Administration is also mentioned in SJR.101, enshrining a federal agency in our state constitution.

Law is written to direct the executive branch on how to enact the will of the people expressed through the law-making process. Constitutions are to define the very narrow role of those who we elect to govern.

I believe that alcohol is a very dangerous drug. I believe it is a gateway drug, but it can be used responsibly, with prudence and self-control. When not used responsibly, families and lives are destroyed, and lives are lost. Gambling is the same. It is the responsibility of the individual to make wise choices, I believe that is what God intended. It is not His way to make our choices for us.

About the author: Senator Christy Zito (R-Hammett) is the state senator for Idaho’s legislative district 23. She previously served two terms in the Idaho House of Representatives (2016-2020). Born in Utah, ranch- and farm-raised, Christy is a graduate of Bridgerland Vocational Center in farm and ranch management. She is a small business owner and farm owner/operator. Christy has five children and eleven grandchildren.