Idaho Senate Revises Cannabis Oil Bill 

    A bill fronted by Boise Republican Sen. Chuck Winder, which would legalize the use of medication derived from cannabis in the treatment of some forms of epilepsy, is advancing to the full Senate. 

    Other versions of the measure had stalled at the Idaho Statehouse, but the latest rewrite passed through the Senate State Affairs Committee on Friday by a unanimous vote. 

    Winder’s bill would require the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to issue registration cards for users, and joins another bill from Boise Republican Sen. Curt McKenzie that would also open the way for use of cannabis-derived medicine to treat seizure disorders.

    McKenzie’s bill, which would provide patients and caregivers with a legal defense if prosecuted for using or possessing cannabidiol, narrowly passed the State Affairs Committee on March 13. 

    Congress Hands A Mixed Bag to Marijuana Movement

    The year-end spending bill gives momentum to the marijuana movement, plus a painful setback

    For the marijuana legalization movement, 2014 ends the way it began: with legal changes that showcase the movement’s momentum alongside its problems.

    Tucked into the 1,603-page year-end spending bill Congress released Tuesday night were a pair of provisions that affect proponents of cannabis reform. Together they form a metaphor for the politics of legal cannabis—an issue that made major bipartisan strides this year, but whose progress is hampered by a tangle of local, state and federal statutes that have sown confusion and produced contradictory justice.

    First the good news for reformers: the proposed budget would prohibit law enforcement officials from using federal funds to prosecute patients or legal dispensaries in the 32 states, plus the District of Columbia, that passed some form of medical-marijuana legalization. The provision was crafted by a bipartisan group of representatives and passed the Republican-controlled House in May for the first time in seven tries. If passed into law, it would mark a milestone for the movement, restricting raids against dispensaries and inoculating patients from being punished for an activity that is legal where they live but in violation of federal law.

    “The enactment of this legislation will mark the first time in decades that the federal government has curtailed its oppressive prohibition of marijuana, and has instead taken an approach to respect the many states that have permitted the use of medical marijuana to some degree,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher said in a statement to TIME. The California Republican’s work on the issue reflects the strange coalition that has sprung up to support cannabis reform as the GOP’s libertarian wing gains steam and voters’ views evolve.

    At the same time, the House chose to overrule Washington, D.C., on the issue. Last month voters in the District chose to liberalize its marijuana laws, passing an initiative that legalized the possession, consumption and cultivation of recreational marijuana. The move, which was supported by about 70% of the capital’s voters, paved the way for D.C. to follow in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington State by establishing a tax-and-regulatory structure for cannabis sales in 2015.

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    Idaho – Pro-Marijuana Organization begins legalization effort

    MOSCOW, Idaho — A new group is kicking off a statewide campaign effort to legalize marijuana in Idaho by 2016. New Approach Idaho is the latest pro-marijuana organization to emerge after a string of failed attempts by other groups over the years to legalize marijuana in Idaho. The new group is focused on allowing medical marijuana, but the long-term goal is full legalization.

    Idaho’s marijuana laws are, “Archaic and illogical,” New Approach member, Bill Esbensen said. “Idahoans suffering from medical ailments shouldn’t have to worry about being arrested for possession,” he said. “If we regulate it, then much of it will be off the streets,” Esbensen said. “Prohibition has failed.”