Idaho officers look askance at possible legal pot in Wash., Oregon

Oct 29, 2012

Voters in both Oregon and Washington are considering measures this November that would legalize marijuana for recreational use. If they pass, the laws would further widen the legal gap with neighboring Idaho, where police worry about spillover.

Idaho State Police Major Kevin Hudgens just learned about the two measures to the west of his state. He says they concern him.

“Common sense tells me that I’m sure we’d see some of our residents going over to Oregon and Washington to purchase marijuana. So, we would likely see an increase in that.”

Hudgens says state troopers already pick up a lot of medical marijuana users crossing the border. In Idaho, medical marijuana is no different from any other kind of pot – it’s all illegal.

Associated Press video: According to Idaho State Police records, 40% of pot seizures in the state come from medical marijuana from Oregon. The arrests of people on the border between the states highlights the differences in laws between Idaho and Oregon. (July 6)

“When I drive home and cross the Snake River, cross that border, I become a criminal,” says Serra Frank, founder of a group called Moms for Marijuana International.

Last year, she moved from her hometown of Boise to Portland, so she could legally get marijuana to treat a painful medical condition.

Frank doesn’t think legalizing recreational pot in Washington or Oregon would change use much in Idaho.

“I think it would be exactly the same," she says. "It’s available and people can get it. There’s a demand in Idaho and there will always be a supply — whether it’s coming from out of state or being grown within our communities.”

Frank hopes a new law in Oregon or Washington would spur a political discussion in Idaho — about whether the state should control the market for pot.

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