Since the state of Washington legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2012 and with Oregon following suit in 2014, the amount of tax revenue raised from marijuana making its way across the border into Idaho has been staggering.
The Idaho State Police has gone from 131 pounds in 2011 to almost 1,650 pounds last year. These statistics only include busts of a pound or more.
“We see it all the time and there’s no question that we are having to change the way that we train, the way that we do our job,” says ISP Capt. Bill Gardiner.
Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board (WLCB) spokesperson Mikhail Carpenter claims to control and track every aspect of the production of legal pot, but the board admits, “The black market still exists and could also be accounting for seizures along the border.”
Current law calls for a year in the big house along with a possible $1,000 fine while not one bill was introduced during Idaho’s legislative session this year related to cannabis reform. To make a change, the Marijuana Policy Project has a helpful tool to reach the lawmakers of each state (here’s Idaho).
Gardiner says they are teaching and training officers to look out for driving patterns “for someone who’s been using marijuana compared to somebody who has been using alcohol.” One can only speculate this means someone maniacally weaving in and out of lanes compared to someone patiently waiting in line at a local fast food restaurant.
“Some folks are under the impression that because it’s legal there, and because they’re a citizen of that state, those rights transfer into another state,” Gardiner explained. “So sometimes they come over to Idaho not knowing that what they’re doing is illegal.”
We've concluded that some Idaho “folks” understand what they are doing and just want some pot.