A proposed constitutional amendment to prevent Idaho from legalizing marijuana and other psychoactive drugs in the future has passed out of the Senate State Affairs Committee and will now go to the Senate floor for a vote.

Senate Joint Resolution 101, brought by Sen. Scott Grow, R-Eagle, would cement Idaho’s current laws on psychoactive drugs in the state Constitution, making it significantly more difficult for Idaho to legalize marijuana or other substances. The resolution was approved by the State Affairs Committee on Friday; next, it will be considered by the full Senate.

The measure would prohibit the “production, manufacture, transportation, sale, delivery, dispensing, distribution, possession, or use of psychoactive drugs.” The amendment contains some exceptions, including prescription drugs that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and drugs that are undergoing clinical trials.

Marijuana and other psychoactive drugs are already banned under Idaho law. But such substances are only outlawed in state code, not in the Constitution—making it easier, in theory, to legalize them. Amendments to the Constitution require not just the approval of two-thirds of the Legislature, but approval of a majority of Idaho voters as well.

Marijuana in some form is legal in five of the six states that border Idaho. Utah allows medical use, while Washington, Oregon, Nevada and, most recently, Montana have fully legalized it. Marijuana remains illegal in Wyoming.

If Senate Joint Resolution 101 is passed by the Senate, it will need to be passed by the House of Representatives as well before appearing on the ballot in a general election.

Email the writer: gkauffman@mtexpress.com

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