When a state like Idaho makes national news it usually isn’t related to its forward thinking outlook on the world. The red state has made the news this year for cases like the one in Twin Falls where a high school football player brutally assaulted a young black mentally handicapped classmate with a coat hanger (up his rectum). This is also a state where racist fliers were handed out (in Sandpoint). Idaho is not known for being a forward thinking atmosphere so the possibility of medicinal cannabis has seemed a far cry from reality…until now.
In a surprising turn of events cannabidiol (CBD) is legal in Idaho after Senate Bill 1146 passed allowing THC-free, high CBD cannabis oil to be sold and purchased. John Chavez and Michael Larsen saw an opportunity and medical need and subsequently be opening Welcomed Science which will be located off of Glenwood in Boise, Idaho. Once they open they plan to have a full spectrum of CBD products, for adults and even their pets.
There is still strong opposition to the cannabis community and any inkling of legalization in Idaho. For this reason, both Larsen and Chavez have taken every precaution to make sure that they operate professionally and to “the letter of the law.” Larsen explained that “What we had to do was just find exactly the letter of the law and then make sure we were well in the confines of that,” which means that the CBD available at Welcomed Science will have zero THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol the psychoactive component responsible for the euphoric high marijuana is commonly known for). “Someone could literally come into our store and take every product we have in the store, they would not get high off of it,” Larsen explained.
The issue is the consensus on what is federally seen as legal and what is not. Larsen explained that “At the federal level, you’re allowed to have up to 0.3 percent THC in the CBD oil. Here in Idaho, we aren’t allowed to have any THC,” but that is not necessarily true. The Farm Bill that Larsen is referring to created a lot of confusion around the topic but mentions hemp products specifically. Recently in hopes of clearing up the confusion the DEA released further clarification saying, “Cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), cannabinol (CBN) and cannabidiol (CBD), are found in the parts of the cannabis plant that fall within the CSA definition of marijuana, such as the flowering tops, resin and leaves.”
In a state that is largely against most things progressive this creates potential justification for the shop to be shut down as soon as it goes up. Idaho’s governor Butch Otter wrote a letter to the president shortly after the election saying, “Among the most pressing concerns facing Idaho, both from the criminal and public health standpoints, is the utter lack of consistency displayed by the Obama administration in enforcement of federal marijuana laws.” With this in mind Larsen and Chavez may have quite the fight ahead of them to stay in business.
Not everyone thinks this way though. Local Idahoan, retired English teacher and grandmother Karen Glennon expressed her excitement for the potential opening of the CBD options in Idaho. She explained that paying for prescription pain medications is not always affordable and looks forward to a natural more affordable alternative.