By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – The party of personal responsibility and limited government strikes again.
On Monday, the GOP-controlled Idaho Senate voted 29-5 to assert its commitment to never legalizing marijuana. The chamber, composed of 28 Republicans and just seven Democrats, approved a concurrent resolution affirming that the state should never, ever, ever legalize pot.
“Now, therefore, be it resolved by the members of the First Regular Session of the Sixty-second Idaho Legislature, the Senate and the House of Representatives concurring therein, that the Idaho Legislature takes this opportunity to state its opposition to efforts to legalize marijuana for any purpose in the State of Idaho,” the resolution says.
The move comes after voters in two states, Colorado and Idaho neighbor Washington, legalized marijuana at the ballot boxes in November.
Republican state Sen. Chuck Winder of Meridian said it’s the Legislature’s duty to protect Idahoans.
If you legalize marijuana, then will the next argument be that our jails are full of people who distribute cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines?” asked Winder, according to the Spokesman Review. “How far do you lower the bar? … I think we do want to protect our kids, we want to protect our citizens.”
The resolution holds no force of law, instead acts only as a policy statement. The resolution now heads to the Idaho House fo hearings.
So, while eager Colorado entrepreneurs are busily creating jobs thanks to the legalization, Idaho lawmakers are effectively taking a step backward.
Legalizing marijuana means new jobs, but it will also bolster government coffers. Shelby Sebens over at Northwest Watchdog wrote last year that Washington could reap as much as $5 billion from pot taxes over the next five years.
Still, Idaho lawmakers aren’t happy with their neighbor to the west. “Whereas, drug legalization laws in neighboring states have already adversely impacted Idaho through cultural acceptance of drug use that reduces the perception of harm among children and increases drug use,” the resolution says.
Bills to legalize marijuana have hit capitol buildings nationwide. Melissa Daniels with PA Independent wrote about one Democrat’s unlikely try at pot legalization here. A small group of Democrats and Republicans in the United States Congress joined forces this week to introduce a bill to legalize medical marijuana.
Lest any of these do-gooder Republicans think pot legalization is an issue reserved for the so-called loony left, Steve Greenhut notes that the Colorado and Washington bans fell thanks to alliances between the left and tea party groups.
Contact: Dustin@Watchdog.org or @DustinHurst via Twitter.