The Idaho Cannabis Coalition is sponsoring a ballot initiative that, if passed by the voters in 2020, would allow the use, dispensing, and cultivation of marijuana for medical use.

The Medical Marijuana Act would create a registry of patients, caregivers, growers and dispensaries. Registered entities would not be subjected to criminal prosecution for the lawful cultivation, dispensing and use of marijuana and marijuana products.

Medical marijuana is so beneficial that pharmaceutical companies have cornered the lucrative legal market for nearly 35 years. Since 1985, Marinol (drabinol), a synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has been used to control nausea in chemotherapy patients, treat appetite suppression and treat neuropathic pain.

Epidiolex, a natural cannabidiol (CBD) extract from marijuana, has recently come on the market to treat two types of epileptic seizures.

The pharmaceutical companies charge far more for Marinol and Epidiolex than what marijuana-derived products would cost. Epidiolex costs about $1,300 a month or almost $16,000 a year. In contrast, hemp CBD oil is $50 or less depending on its strength and dosages.

Marinol costs between $700 and $2,600 a month or $8,400 and $31,000 a year, respectively. There is no legal, cost-effective substitute for THC or marijuana-derived products in Idaho. In other states, 10 mg THC capsules would cost $180 per month.

Marijuana has been classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a Schedule I controlled substance that is on par with heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. Yet, in 1986 Marinol was reclassified from Schedule I to a Schedule II and later in 1999 reclassified as Schedule III. Both Schedule II and Schedule III drugs are medically-accepted treatments.

Idaho has accepted Marinol as a Schedule III drug. Thus, it is inconsistent that medical marijuana is illegal while Marinol is legal.

It is unconscionable that the Idaho legislature continues to subject patients to the high costs of pharmaceutical products or have them rely on the highly addictive opiates when marijuana and marijuana-derived products can be legalized.

If you want the Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative on the ballot on November 3rd 2020, then please sign the petition. There is a petition available for signing at Cold Smoke, 92 W Center St, Victor, Idaho. Winter hours are Tuesday - Saturday 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m..

For more information about the ballot initiative, volunteering or attending a signature gathering event (e.g, Driggs, November 24, 2019) see Idaho Cannabis Coalition’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/IdahoCann/).

Daphne Stoner, Ph.D.

Driggs

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