State Politics

Idaho House speaker candidate opposes pot. His business protects a dispensary

A large repository of marijuana and THC-infused products is protected by Crane Alarms Services. The Republican assistant majority leader, Rep. Brent Crane, is a vice president at Crane Alarms Services. Ron Crane, Idaho’s treasurer, is the owner.

The Crane family business provides security to Hotbox Farms, a marijuana dispensary in Huntington, Oregon. The shop carries a wide variety of edibles, concentrates, vapes and cannabis products. The website says it is “proud to be your one-stop shop” for cannabis.

Rep. Crane has repeatedly come out against recreational marijuana in Idaho, pointing to the problems faced by law enforcement in other states, like Oregon, are having in communities with legal marijuana.

“I am unwavering in my opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana,” Crane told Idaho Reports. Idaho Reports could not find any Crane vote in favor of CBD oil, medicinal marijuana or any other pro-marijuana legislation in his time at the Idaho Statehouse.

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Rep. Crane is against selling marijuana in Idaho but in his email statement said, “Yes, I can confirm that Crane Alarm does provide security services at Hotbox Farms in Huntington, Ore.” Rep. Crane is also aware of the money his company is receiving from Hotbox Farms. “I am aware of it because I oversee the invoicing for our customers.”

The Crane Alarm Services website says Rep. Crane and his brother, Jaron Crane, oversee the day-to-day operations of the business but Idaho Treasurer Ron Crane is still very involved.

Crane Alarm’s services are split between a fire and a security division. Rep. Crane is the Fire Division manager. Rep. Crane says the decision to provide security services to Hotbox Farms was something he had no control over. The decision was made by his brother, adding that, “It was solely (Jaron’s) decision to provide security services to Hotbox Farms.”

Residents in Ontario, Oregon, voted to legalize the sale of marijuana just feet over the Idaho border earlier this month. Rep. Crane said, “I can assure you that the Fire Alarm Division has not and will not be providing fire alarm service to marijuana dispensaries in Ontario.” What the security division may do is unknown.

Knowledge of the Crane family business’s involvement with marijuana dispensaries in Oregon has been rumored for a while. It wasn’t until recently that pictures of Crane Alarm Services stickers in Hotbox Farms’ windows began to circulate.

“I successfully went through a Republican leadership campaign for assistant majority leader. Not a single comment was raised regarding this issue,” Crane said of his 2016 leadership election, the year after Oregon legalized marijuana. “But when I announced my campaign for speaker, a mysterious someone surfaces to call into question my character in an attempt to paint me as a hypocrite.”

Idaho Reports reached out to Speaker of the House Scott Bedke; he said he knew of the pictures but had no involvement with distributing the photos nor did he want anything to do with them whatsoever.

“These are the same tactics that the Clintons and the Democrats have used for years in an attempt to silence or destroy their political opponents,” Crane said.

Whether it is hypocrisy or a Clintonesque smear campaign, marijuana has taken a surprisingly prominent position in the Republican leadership elections. How it all plays out will be decided at the legislative organizational session on Dec. 6. Tune into Idaho Reports for the verdict.

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