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Idaho Authorities: Medical Marijuana Rights From Neighboring States Not Recognized

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Idaho authorities:Medical marijuana rights from neighboring states not recognized


ST. ANTHONY, Idaho - Idaho lawenforcement officials statewide have a simple message for medical marijuanausers with valid permits from neighboring states: Don't expect any legalleniency if caught with the drug in the Gem State.


Idaho is not a medical marijuanastate, but is bordered by states like Washington, Oregon and Montana withmedical marijuana laws on the books. Idaho also does not recognize the legalrights those states give to patients to buy and possess small amounts forhealth reasons.


While arrests of out-of-statemedical marijuana clients is rare, police in eastern Idaho are reporting aslight increase in the number of Montana motorists pulled over for speeding andtraffic violations who are also being charged for having marijuana in theirvehicles.


"Some of the deputies arehaving fun with medical marijuana coming out of Montana," Fremont CountySherriff Department Chief Deputy Kurt Hillman told county leaders this week.


Last week alone, the RexburgStandard Journal reported four Montana motorists were charged in Fremont Countywith possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia. While some of those chargedhave medical marijuana permits, Idaho officials say they still face criminalcharges because those permits are only valid in the state issued or otherstates where they are recognized.


Idaho doesn't have a single databasetracking drug arrests of out-of-state medical marijuana clients. But lawenforcement officials in other corners of the state say such arrests are rare -even in northern Idaho, where Montana and Washington are separated by less than80 miles along Interstate 90.


Kootenai County Sheriff Lt.Stuart Miller said of the 467 drug or paraphernalia arrests made by thedepartment last year, only 13 were attributed to Montana residents. Of those,it's unclear how many had a Montana permit to possess the drug.


Lt. Paul Kwiatkowski of theMoscow Police Department said medical marijuana users tend to be well educatedabout the rules and unwilling to take risks in states like Idaho. He said thecases they do see involve small amounts, typically an ounce or less, an amountthat qualifies for a misdemeanor under Idaho code.


"Most people won't travelwith their marijuana," said Kwiatkowski, a veteran officer in the collegetown that sits near the Washington border.


Still, police in eastern Idahoare offering some free advice to Montana motorists: Heed the speed limit andIdaho's other traffic laws. Hillman said pulling a driver over even for atraffic violation opens the door to look for other misdeeds.


Speeding or other simpleviolations are often the cause of traffic stops, Hillman said, which givedeputies opportunity to look for other violations of the law with probablecause.


"They need to slow down,especially if they're packing (pot)," Hillman said.


The sentence in Idaho for firsttime misdemeanor possession is five to 10 days in jail.



MichaelA. Komorn


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Attorney Michael Komorn’ practice specializes in MedicalMarihuana representation. He is the President of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association (MMMA), anonprofit patient advocacy group with over 20,000 members, which advocates formedical marihuana patients, and caregiver rights. He is also an experienceddefense attorney successfully representing many wrongfully accused medicalmarihuana patients and caregivers




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