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Campaign aims to get medical marijuana initiative on Idaho ballot

The Idaho Cannabis Coalition announced Tuesday that it had taken the first step to getting a medical marijuana initiative on the 2020 ballot.

The group said it has delivered signatures needed to start the initiative process to the Idaho Secretary of State, according to a press release.

Members were holding a press conference on the steps of the Idaho Capitol at 2 p.m. today.

The chief petitioner is John Belville, a 77-year-old Idahoan who said in the press release that the opiates he’s been prescribed by his doctors for his peripheral neuropathy are causing his organs to fail.

“Medical cannabis has been shown in numerous scientific studies to be especially effective at relieving neuropathic pain,” said Belville’s son, Russ, in the release. “Having visited me in Oregon and trying it for himself, my dad knows what millions of Americans in 33 other states already know: medical marijuana works for his condition, period.”

The initiative seeks to provide Idahoans with “safe access to whole plant cannabis and other medical cannabis products through a system of secure dispensaries tightly regulated by the state.” Patients with demonstrated physical or financial hardship would qualify to grow a small cannabis garden.

In 1996, California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, and since then, another 33 states, along with the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, have done the same.

The Idaho Cannabis Coalition said it was told by state officials that it must collect 55,057 valid signatures to put medical marijuana legalization to voters.

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