After Quiet Lobbying, Idaho Legislature Could Consider Legalizing Medical Marijuana Extract

Jan 9, 2015

Clare, Alexis and Micheal Carey are urging the Legislature to legalize a marijuana extract for their daughter who has Dravet syndrome.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Legalizing marijuana in Idaho has been a complete no-go, even as its neighbors have started licensing pot dispensaries and retail shops.

But now Republican leaders in Idaho say they're willing to consider a very narrow version of a medical marijuana law.

Idaho Speaker of the House Scott Bedke said this year lawmakers may explore legalizing a cannabis extract. It’s been found to help some patients with a rare and severe form of epilepsy.

“There's some very compelling family stories out there that literally break your heart, to sit with those parents and to see those things,” Bedke said.

The marijuana oil contains very little THC. Several Idaho families with children who suffer from severe seizures have publicly urged lawmakers to make the treatment available, including the Carey family who we introduced you to last summer.

Eleven states have passed similar laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The majority apply only to patients with what's known as “intractable epilepsy,” a form that's difficult to treat.

There is also a proposal in the U.S. Congress to legalize the extract.

“If the federal government acted through this legislation, it would probably be the most straightforward and easiest way to get things done,” Idaho state Rep. Curt McKenzie told KBSX last year.