Idaho Think Tank Supports Medical Cannabis
By New Frontier Analysts
The Idaho Freedom Foundation, a conservative Idaho think-tank, has recently come out in support of medical cannabis legalization in the state. Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the think-tank made this stance known on the Freedom Foundation’s blog. The Freedom Foundation’s reasoning was in line with its free-market ideology, citing the harms of excessive government regulation. In the blog post, Hoffman questioned whether the costs of prohibition were justified and if the free-market could better regulate the sales of cannabis. Additionally, it was noted that neighboring states have legalized cannabis for recreational consumption, meaning that a short drive across the border creates a loophole for Idaho citizens. The impetus for this blog post was partially derived from Idaho Governor Butch Otter’s 2015 decision to veto a bill intended to make CBD oil legal for epilepsy patients.
A historically conservative think-tank coming out in support of cannabis legalization is a notable step towards widespread acceptance of the industry. In particular, it interesting to note how free-market and capitalist theories are being used to bolster more commonly heard social arguments about the legalization of cannabis. This is a rare bipartisan link in a time of great political division. Pro-cannabis legislation often appeals to voters who view themselves being closer to the Libertarian party, who recently ran cannabis entrepreneur Gary Johnson as their presidential candidate. As the politicians, agencies, and think-tanks supporting cannabis legalization start to come from a more varied ideological background, this could be a sign of major widespread support.
Think-tanks often act as thought leaders, making recommendations and suggestions that set the tone for further political discourse. The immediate impact of the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s blog post could be a renewed effort to make cannabis and CBD products legal for medical patients in Idaho. But the rationale laid out by Wayne Hoffman can easily be applied elsewhere in the country. With adult use legalization passing on ballot initiative in Massachusetts and Maine, other states in New England could see residents going over state lines to buy their cannabis. Ultimately, it will fall on the states without legal markets to police this activity. Meanwhile, they will lose out on tax revenues. As local governments try to find ways to balance budgets and allocate more money for education and other key programs, the resource drain from cannabis will become more apparent since it could be replaced by tax revenue. Although Wayne Hoffman’s argument applies primarily to Idaho, states such as New York may take lessons from the Freedom Foundation when they evaluate their cannabis regulations.
New Frontier Analysts
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