The Herald Bulletin

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December 9, 2012

Washington could become pot source for neighbors

(Continued)

PORTLAND, Ore. —

"If I'm going to drive on the Oregon coast at night, in the driving rain, I want the person on the other side of the road to be completely unimpaired," Marquis told The Associated Press.

Idaho law officials are also watching what's happening in Washington state. Unlike Oregon, Idaho has no medical marijuana law and possession in any form is against the law. Simple possession of less than three ounces is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Idaho officials already have their hands full with Idahoans obtaining medical marijuana cards out of state. The Gem State borders three medical marijuana states, a reality that has caused medical marijuana arrests to outpace those of traffickers or other users.

Although Idaho is a largely conservative state, there are pockets defined by borders and demographics that could create new challenges for law enforcement.

One of them is Moscow, home to the University of Idaho campus and more than 11,000 students — just a 10-minute drive to the Washington State University campus in Pullman. More than 70 miles to the north is the busy suburban corridor connecting Spokane, Wash., and the Idaho cities of Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene.

Idaho police say increased arrests for marijuana could intensify stress on county jails and caseloads for county prosecutors.

Idaho State Police Lt. Chris Schenk, says people in north Idaho are joking about so-called "pot tourists" crossing the border to take advantage of Washington's relaxed law. But he says it's going to take time to gauge any increases in arrests for possession or driving under the influence.

Oregon has some of the most permissive pot laws in the nation. Possession of less than an ounce will get you the equivalent of a speeding ticket. And for those who want to go the legal route, they can get a medical marijuana card.

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