Today was a historic day in the upcoming Idaho marijuana wars.  Two legislators called a press conference demanding the end of the prosecution of the three hemp truck drivers.  The two lawmakers, Representative Ilana Rubel/(D-Boise) and Representative Dorothy Moon/(R-Stanley) joined the hemp petition to the Ada County Prosecutor’s office with over 12,000 signatures. The petition, originally posted to social media by Tracy Olson, calls on Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts to drop all charges against Andrew D’Addario, Erich Eisenhart, and Denis Palamarchuk, three truck drivers who were arrested and charged for driving industrial hemp across Idaho. Hemp has been legalized at the federal level and is legal in nearly every other state.

“These truck drivers are not a danger to our state.” Rep. Rubel explained. “Idaho is on the brink of committing a serious injustice. These men should not face prison time and a felony criminal record for doing their jobs. They did not come to Idaho with the intent to cause harm or create trouble, and we strongly urge the prosecutor to drop charges. It is difficult to think of a worse way to spend taxpayer dollars than by prosecuting and imprisoning these gentlemen who were trying to make an honest living transporting harmless agricultural products.”

Representatives Rubel and Moon co-sponsored legislation that would have legalized hemp and reformed mandatory minimum sentencing laws. However, because the Legislature failed to pass either of these bills, transporting hemp loads is still treated as “drug trafficking,” and judges have no power to avoid harsh mandatory prison sentences for such offenses.

“Dropping these charges is a bipartisan issue.” Rep. Moon said. “These individuals will have a criminal record for the rest of their lives for doing what any working person in their position would have done.  They are truck drivers, not lawyers, and they should not have their lives ruined for not doing the legal research to discover that Idaho’s laws are out of step with the rest of America. Idaho’s archaic hemp laws are depriving our farmers of opportunity, they are punishing people for honest work, and they are wasting our tax dollars. The Legislature will hopefully fix the law next year, but in the meantime, the Ada County Prosecutor should show better judgment and drop these charges immediately.”

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