Idaho is one of only four states left in the US where cannabis remains illegal for both medical and recreational use.
The situation has left the state’s residents travelling to neighbouring Oregon to purchase cannabis, where Ontario has seen a major boom in tax revenues thanks to these visitors – taking $1.8 million in tax revenue in 2020 alone.
This tax is financing public services such as new police positions and emergency response vehicles, and in Idaho, where living costs are rising, residents and organisations believe that legalising cannabis could bring in more revenue.
Speaking to the New York Times, Joe Evans, organiser for Kind Idaho, a group advocating for the legalisation of medical cannabis, said ‘that money should not be leaving the state of Idaho.’
However, Evans also emphaised that cannabis legalization in the state is not just about bringing in additional revenue for the state. It is also about patient advocacy – and residents living in Idaho looking to use cannabis for medical purposes shouldn’t have to travel out of state to do so.
One resident, Adam Watkins, a software engineer, told the publication: “You look around at other states that have legalized marijuana decades ago, when it comes to medical marijuana, and you just cannot help but think, why are we so backward on this issue?
“This is a drug with proven health effects, and we are just leaving this issue to other states to solve. We are turning blindly, like this is not an issue, when it clearly is.”