BOISE • A group of Republicans in the Wood River Valley want to change how Idaho looks at marijuana criminalization.
On Tuesday, the Blaine County Republican Central Committee passed a resolution to legalize marijuana.
The resolution isn’t law, nor will it necessarily lead to a law. A resolution simply states the central committee’s support for a proposed policy.
Committeman Mike Connor said the resolution passed 6-2. Much of the discussion before the vote focused on the failure of the War on Drugs, and how to most effectively keep marijuana away from children, he said.
“The Blaine County GOP believes that the time has come to amend criminal prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization, and education,” the resolution says. It goes on to discuss violent crime and the black market that marijuana criminalization has created, and how legalization will help regulation.
Not all Blaine County Republicans agree with the resolution. Sheriff Gene Ramsey, who didn’t attend the meeting, said marijuana and other drugs should remain illegal.
“I think that we need to, as a nation, take a hard stand on drugs,” Ramsey said. With marijuana decriminalization, “we’re sending the wrong example to our youth.”
After passage of the resolution, the Blaine County Republicans will send the resolution to the state committee.
“That’s probably as far as it’s going to go for now,” he said.
Idaho Republican Party executive director Joshua Whitworth said county central committees pass resolutions all the time.
“That’s the first I’ve heard on marijuana,” he said.
Connor said the Blaine County Republicans aren’t trying to encourage drug use.
“It’s not about doing drugs. I want to be very clear about that,” he said. But regulation will ensure criminals won’t benefit from the sale of marijuana, he said.
Ramsey acknowledged that there might be problems with the War on Drugs.
“It may not be working, but that doesn’t mean you should just give up,” he said. “I think law enforcement’s role is to stay proactive on this issue.”