Hemp or pot: What’s the difference?
Despite strong objections by Idaho law enforcement officials, a bill that would legalize hemp by aligning state law with the federal farm bill has passed the Idaho House.
The Post Register reported that the bill passed overwhelmingly on Monday, with only seven lawmakers voting in opposition. Republican Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy, of Genesee, is one of the co-sponsors of the bill. She says the bill supports the free market and is not an effort to legalize marijuana.
The bill now goes to the Senate.
In a letter last week, the Idaho Prosecuting Attorneys Association urged lawmakers to reject the bill.
“HB 122 includes no protections for law enforcement and will effectively legalize marijuana in the state,” the letter, dated March 15, says.
The letter said some of the sponsors of the bill had misled the public about law enforcement’s testing capabilities: Police can’t always tell the difference between marijuana and hemp by looking at it, and they don’t have any roadside tests to confirm their suspicions. A few weeks ago, the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee appropriated $240,000 for three testing devices at Idaho State Police crime labs.
“All of these issues, and many more, could be resolved if a consensus bill were to be considered. Unfortunately, Idaho’s law enforcement community has been shut out of the conversation,” the letter says. It warns that Idaho’s law must provide “statutory guidance to protect the safety of the community, the grower, and law enforcement’s ability to enforce the controlled substance laws of the state.”