Idaho, where pot is illegal, is next to pot friendly Oregon
By Hal Brown
The author is not a lawyer and any legal references here are based on Internet research. The advice about travel with marijuana is meant to be common sense and not an endorsement of doing this.
I thought of this when I read this article in the website of a local TV station:You might intuit that the county with the most pot sales in Oregon would be one near Portland. It wasn't. Rather it was in Masher County which borders on Idaho.
Idaho is one of a dozen states where neither recreational nor medical cannabis is legal. Ten weed sellers in the Malheur County city of Ontario, right on the state line with Idaho, make hay selling mainly to folks from the nearby Boise-area population center.
Ten weed sellers in the Malheur County city of Ontario, right on the state line with Idaho, make hay selling mainly to folks from the nearby Boise-area population center. Below you can see that most of them are clustered around the exits from thetwo highways that cross the Snake River border between the two states.
What prompted me to write this blog is the fact that I have a friend who lives in Idaho who has a medical condition and would find relief in cannabis. It would take him about five hours to drive to a town in Oregon with a pot store since he lives in the central part of the state. His medical condition makes driving himself problematic so he'd need a friend to help him out.
The biggest risk for him and anybody else driving into Oregon to purchase pot for medicinal or recreational use in of course getting arrested. Possession of any amount of marijuana for any reason is a misdemeanor if the amount is 3 ounces or less. The maximum penalty is 1 year in jail and $1,000 in fines. If the amount is between 3 ounces and 1 pound, the offense is a felony and the top penalty is 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
When I visited him years ago he warned me that I had to slow down when I got off highway and approach his town line because there was a radar trap. Indeed, as I drove past the 25mph sign there was a town constable with a radar gun.
I can imagine how Idaho police may be incentivized to make marijuana arrests for the revenue. All they would have to watch border crossing roads and look for cars with Idaho plates and find a reason to stop them.
Police can only search a car without permission with probable cause.
The Fourth Amendment to the American Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures by government agents. For a stop and search to be reasonable, the stopping officer must have reasonable suspicion that the driver has broken or is about to break the law.
Therefore common sense dictates that even if someone isn't doing anything illegal it is prudent to assure you don't get stopped by the police in a state with so many far-right residents. A mere Biden sticker on your car, or just having Oregon license plates on your car, may prompt some police officers to look for a reason to stop you.
Before you leave for any trip that might end up in a police stop it is prudent to check you car with someone inside to make sure all of your lights are operating properly including your license plate light if the car has one. This includes turn signals and brake lights. If you want to be super-cautious you could take pictures of your taillights to show that none of the lenses are broken.
If a K9 indicates marijuana the police office can ask you where it is and you have to make the decision whether it is in your best interest to comply. If all you face is a fine you can write this off as nothing ventured nothing gained. On the other hand you could take the chance that the dog or officer won't be able to find where you hid the marijuana.
I rather doubt the state wants to incarcerate a large number of people as it would most likely cost them more to put them behind bars than it was worth it, plus I doubt they have the jail cells to put them in. Not only that if too many of them decided to plead their cases in court it would likely overwhelm their court system.
I do not advise breaking the law of any state. This goes for any law, even if you believe it is wrong. Thus if you want to use marijuana, or get an abortion, I recommend going to a state where these things are legal.
As a reporter here I recognize that there are people who will want to bring marijuana into Idaho and avoid being arrested. The common sense way for someone who decides to break the law and bring marijuana into Idaho from Oregon by car is not to get pulled over by the police.
There are numerous websites readily located with a simple web search which have links to websites which assist them in finding ways to make it less likely a sniffer K9 will indicate to the officer there is pot in the car:
Click above to enlarge image