BOISE — A bill to legalize hemp in Idaho is getting some serious blow back from Idaho law enforcement.
Despite easy passage in the House, law enforcement says Idaho is jumping the gun.
But proponents say law enforcement will get its chance.
Still, the Idaho hemp bill has state law enforcement feeling left out.
"I can only speculate that the sponsors didn't want to amend their bill and believed as it turned out correctly for the house that they had the votes to move forward without comprimising or working with law enforcement." says Grant Loebs, Twin Falls Prosecuting Attorney.
The Idaho Prosecuting Attorney's Association wrote a blistering letter to the legislature arguing that house bill 122 doesn't provide protections for law enforcement and will effectively legalize marijuana in this state. Loebs adds that's because cops currently cannot tell hemp from pot.
"We don't have the roadside tests to do that." says Loebs.
But bill co-sponsor Rep. Dorothy Moon says law enforcement shouldn't be worried. If the bill is passed, she says the Department of Agriculture would create the rules governing hemp legalization and law enforcement would be closely involved.
"A lot of issues they were addressing would actually be covered in the ag bill plan that would be formulated once this bill is passed." says Moon.
Also, the legislature has proven time and again it's clearly against legalizing marijuana, so if it had any concerns, why would the house vote 63 to seven to approve this bill? Loebs doesn't know, but his group plans to argue it's point before the Senate.
Moon says it would take at least a year to formulate the rules to regulate hemp in Idaho, during which time, hemp would remain illegal.