Is Cannabis Legal in Idaho?

Weed is completely illegal in Idaho, whether you just want to get high or whether you have a genuine medical need. To the state, it’s all the same.

Written by

Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson is the senior editor at CBD Oracle, and has been covering science, vaping and cannabis for over 10 years. He has a MS in Theoretical Physics from Uppsala...

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Map of marijuana laws in Idaho
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Key Takeaways

  • Cannabis is not legal for recreational use in Idaho.
  • Possession of less than 3 ounces is punishable by up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines.
  • Despite efforts, medical marijuana remains illegal in Idaho, aside from Epidiolex, the medically-approved CBD product with zero THC.

Cannabis is completely illegal in Idaho.

Whether you’re hoping to smoke for fun or need some because you have a health issue that could be helped by cannabis, the state offers no option whatsoever for legally obtaining THC.

While you can get CBD with 0% delta-9 THC – which is stricter than the federal 0.3% limit – if you’re looking for anything else then you’re risking some pretty harsh penalties.

Weed is not legal in Idaho, whether you’re a recreational or medicinal user. The only permitted form of marijuana is CBD oil with 0% THC.

Recreational weed use or possession is not allowed by Idaho’s weed laws.

Idaho considers THC a Schedule I controlled substance, along with any isomers and synthetic versions of it, and it lists “marihuana” (yes, with that spelling) separately too.

In short, it’s absolutely illegal to use weed for fun in Idaho.  

Penalties for Possession

If you’re caught with cannabis in Idaho, the punishment is likely to be fairly extreme.

The minimum amount considered is “less than three ounces,” so even possession of 3 grams could essentially be treated the same as possession of 80 grams.

The punishments for weed possession in Idaho are:

  • If you have less than 3 ounces (85 g), it’s considered a misdemeanor, and carries a penalty of up to $1,000 in fines and up to a year in prison.
  • If you have more than 3 ounces, it’s a felony and carries a punishment of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • You can even get in trouble for just having paraphernalia, which carries the same penalty as possession of less than an ounce: up to $1,000 in fines and a year in prison.

Amounts above a pound may be treated as possession with intent to distribute, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence (a year if it’s less than 5 pounds) and a fine of up to $50,000.

Medical marijuana is not legal in Idaho.

There have been many efforts to get medical marijuana on the ballot, in literally every even year since 2012, including the most recent failed effort in 2022 and an ongoing one for 2024

The only form of medical “marijuana” available in Idaho is Epidiolex, basically CBD with 0% THC, approved by the FDA for the treatment of childhood seizure disorders such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Realistically, this isn’t even marijuana. Of course, it’s good for the small number of (primarily) children suffering from these issues, but the medical program is basically non-existent.

Can You Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Idaho?

Idaho medical marijuana laws are so restrictive that there is no “medical marijuana card” you can get or even anything similar.

Can You Consume in Public in Idaho?

There is no legal way to consume cannabis in Idaho, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that you can’t consume weed in public in the state.

The punishment for public use (or being under the influence in public) is up to six months in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

Can You Drive Under the Influence of Weed in Idaho?

You can’t drive under the influence of cannabis in Idaho, and you essentially can’t in any other state either.

Idaho has an implied consent law, so by operating a vehicle on the roads you’ve already given your consent to be tested for alcohol and drugs.

If you refuse (and ignore a warning), you’ll be fined $250 and your license will be suspended for a year, and you’ll have an ignition interlock fitted for a year after.

For the actual DUI, the punishments are:

  • For a first offense, you’ll be jailed for a maximum of 6 months and fined up to $1,000. Your license will also be suspended for at least 90 days and up to 180 days (with 30 days completely unavoidable, even if you have good reason to need your vehicle).
  • For a second offense (within 10 years), you’ll be jailed for between 10 days and 1 year, fined up to $2,000, and your license will be suspended for one year following your release from jail (with no possibility of restricted use, for any reason), and you may have an ignition interlock installed afterward.
  • For a third offense (within 10 years), it’s considered a felony, and you’ll receive between 30 days (mandatory minimum) and 10 years in prison, with a fine of up to $5,000, your license being suspended for between 1 and 5 years (following leaving prison). After your license is reinstated, you’re only allowed to drive a car with an ignition interlock fitted.

Since Idaho basically bans anything with THC, and doesn’t specify delta-9, delta-8 THC is illegal in the state.

HB 126 (page 7, lines 21 to 28) makes it clear that anything containing THC will be considered “marijuana,” and later (page 13, lines 5 to 24) delta-8 is specifically listed as a controlled substance. 

Even if a CBD product can clearly be shown to contain no THC, it would have to be made from non-flower parts of the plant (e.g. stalks, oils and seeds) to be legal in the state. Frankly, delta-8 doesn’t have a chance in that landscape.

RELATED: Where Is Delta-8 THC Legal? A State-by-State Map

Is Cannabis Decriminalized in Idaho?

Decriminalization is not part of Idaho recreational weed laws, so it is still a criminal offense to have even a single joint in your possession.

Growing weed is not legal in Idaho, in line with the harsh approach taken by Idaho weed laws.

The punishments are pretty extreme, especially if you compare them to the approach of most other states:

  • For less than 24 plants (or less than 1 pound), it’s considered a felony and carries a punishment of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Amounts above this are considered trafficking and are punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

It was mentioned earlier that advocates have attempted to start an Idaho medical marijuana program through a public ballot every two years since 2012.

The unique challenge is that in Idaho, for such an initiative to reach the ballot, you need to collect signatures of 6% of registered voters in 18 separate districts. This means that if you have 10%, or even 50% of voters in 17 districts, but just 5% in the other one, then the initiative is not eligible for the ballot. They even tried to increase it to 35 districts.

While activists with Kind Idaho have a petition drive running to get medical marijuana on the ballot again in 2024, this is likely to run up against the same hurdles and the same opposition from lawmakers more generally. For example, they list pre-approved sites to sign, run petition drives and give instructions to print the petition yourself, get it notarized and submit it to the County Clerk.

If you’re in Idaho, you should get involved and sign the petition as soon as possible, and get as many people as you can to do the same. However, it must be said that with the general opposition to legalization from lawmakers, it will not be easy to get it on the ballot. 

Even though Schedule III seems to be the most likely federal change, it’s still probably the case that the federal government will legalize weed before Idaho does.

If there is an option to “opt out” of any de-scheduling, Idaho would be one of the first states in line to do just that. 

Conclusion

Idaho is possibly the worst state in the country for weed laws.

With complete prohibition of anything that could be considered fun and no compassion even for those with a medical need, the state is stuck fighting (and losing) the war on drugs (with all of the usual issues) while the rest of the country is re-evaluating.

You can get jail time for a gram of weed or for the bong you pack with it. Activists will do their best to get a medical program running in 2024, but it will be an uphill battle, to say the least.