Suzette Meyers is easy to label. Idaho native. Stroke survivor. Registered Republican.
But the Coeur d’Alene resident is also storming ahead with another label that she repeats loudly and proudly: the medical marijuana lawyer.
“I see people from my hometown in Salmon,” she said. “How many of them have suffered debilitating conditions while people in the states around us are free to choose what is in their medicine cabinet?”
Meyers returned to Idaho last year from lobbying the Phoenix area, where she advocated medical marijuana legislation in Arizona to continue her efforts in Coeur d’Alene. As a spokeswoman for Kind Idaho in Northern Idaho, the emerging advocacy advocate for medical marijuana legislation, Meyers said she aims to bring the issue to Idaho voters in 2022.
“When you look at these communities this close to the borders, they’re just stimulating other states’ economies,” she said of a comfy couch at Cloud Vapor, a vape shop in Post Falls less than five miles from Idaho -Washington State Line. “We stimulate their economy and their agendas. Why shouldn’t we do this with our own economy or our own agenda? “
Child Idaho is in the petitioning phase of a long-term campaign to get an initiative in front of Idaho voters. Meyers’ struggle could be the next civic initiative to make the vote: the last successful initiative put Medicaid’s expansion in front of voters in 2018.
But the next citizens’ initiative – be it medical marijuana or something else – is by no means based on guarantees. On Friday, Idaho House prepared to debate SB 1110, a bill by Senator Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, that would require 6 percent of signatures from all 35 legislative districts instead of the current 17 district requirement. With this law, the Senate was passed on March 1st with 26 to 9 votes.
Friday’s debate, along with every other committee debate and hearing, was postponed as lawmakers voted for an emergency break thanks to a COVID-19 outbreak. The House and Senate will not see each other for at least two weeks. As soon as the legislature is resumed, the initiative process will likely be one of the first orders.
“I think the bill is good for Idaho,” Vick told the Coeur d’Alene Press. “I think it’s bringing these conversations to all of Idaho. My goal is to extend the conversation to the entire state. I think it’s easier than ever to communicate with all parts of the state than it used to be. When it comes to nationwide affairs, it is important to involve all parts of the state. “
However, Meyers does not strike with SB 1110.
“It’s unconstitutional,” she said. “The GOP majority could go through with it and sell it as constitutional. But that’s just not the case. “
Constitutionalism aside, some advocates of the law say that SB 1110 is less about making it difficult for signature collectors than it is about making it difficult for non-governmental interest groups.
Senator Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene, told the press that groups who value their brands as “grassroots” rarely stay that way.
“There really is no more base,” said Souza. “You always start as a base until the big bucks come in. Today, these organizations have access to a great deal of technology and a lot of high tech skills to get their message across. The initiative actions have become popular targets for these large money groups to influence Idaho. “
When asked to defend grassroots organizations, Meyers said that opponents put the cart in front of the horse and that, frankly, they embraced a national interest.
“We don’t have any money at the moment,” she said. “We don’t currently have any national organizations speaking to us. They will not speak to us until we have signatures showing that we mean business and that we are worth their time. “
The signature drive will continue on April 17th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cloud Vapor on Seltice Way, where Meyers and the state officials of Kind Idaho will be holding a signature-gathering event.
The group’s website – kindidaho.org – features a calendar of almost daily nationwide events such as the April 17th rally. The website also allows visitors to donate at any step they can afford.
“We are pushing for what people are familiar with,” said Meyers. “When we ask for $ 4.20 or $ 7.10, these are manageable amounts for basic purposes that are emotionally stimulating and that are committed to those ends as well.”