Legal pot nearby spikes marijuana busts in Idaho

Posted at 4:31 PM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-13 12:28:10-04
As neighboring Pacific Northwest states see steady sales of both medical and recreational marijuana, state troopers in Idaho are seeing a sharp increase in the amount of pot on Idaho roads.

“We've seen a large trend of people bringing marijuana into the state of Idaho, and some of them feeling like it's legal here because it was legal in the state that they bought it in,” Idaho State Police trooper James Millar said.


Those traveling with marijuana, according to ISP, are a mix of in-and-out-of-state residents. Typically, Idahoans are caught with smaller quantities for personal use, according to Millar, while out-of-state drivers passing through the Gem State are often found with larger quantities.

In 2011, ISP officers seized roughly 130 pounds of marijuana (in quantities of one pound or more at a time), and in 2015 that figure spikes to 1,644 pounds of pot.

“If it ends up being a large quantity of it, then people are going to go to jail for it,” Millar said. “If it's a smaller quantity or if they only have the paraphernalia on them, it's more likely they get cited and released for it, but they can still go to jail for that as well.”

Police are reminding Idaho residents even if you have a medical marijuana card that’s valid in another state, it is illegal to possess pot in the state of Idaho.

“It is up to the officer's discretion whether you go to jail for it, or whether you're cited and released for it,” Millar said.

Millar says if an officer determines a driver is under the influence of marijuana at the time of the traffic stop, they will be charged and taken in to custody. Either way, those caught carrying pot in state lines still face fines and penalties requiring a court appearance and a criminal record.