PAYETTE COUNTY – Two men headed for Idaho with seven pounds of marijuana barely made it outside the Oregon state line before Idaho State Police caught up with them.
Police said 36-year-old Jason Houston of Bakersfield, California and his passenger 54-year-old Kevin Bennett of Glendale, Oregon were stopped Friday, on Interstate 84 at mile marker four for a traffic violation.
The officer on the stop smelled pot in the car and alerted a K-9 unit. A discovery of seven pounds of marijuana stuffed in a duffel bag in the truck of the car was made. The drugs were apparently headed for Pocatello.
“It's not like these people are coming to Idaho to have a week's vacation and smoke seven pounds of marijuana, they are coming to Idaho to distribute it and drop it off,” said Idaho State Police Sgt. John Burke.
ISP has investigated 14 cases of marijuana drug trafficking in just the last six months.
“They are governed by our laws once they come into the state so if they are over three ounces it's a felony,” said Sgt. Burke
Kevin Bennett, the suspect from Oregon and also the passenger in the car, told officers he had an Oregon medical marijuana card.
“I don't think that when you are packing 69 pounds or seven pounds or eight pounds, I don't think there is anything innocent about that. You know you are breaking the law,” said Burke.
However, there is an argument by some groups in Idaho who believe using marijuana for medical reasons can be very innocent.
Compassionate Idaho is a group petitioning to get a medical marijuana initiative on the 2012 ballot. They need 47,000 petition signatures by the end of April to get the measure to a vote.
Along with that, Moscow Republican, Representative Tom Trail is also once again trying to introduce legislation into the 2012 Idaho Legislature that would give sick Idahoans medical marijuana protection.
“Nobody would be allowed to grow any marijuana themselves they would have to get it through a dispensary, a nonprofit under the Department of Health and Welfare and it would be monitored by the Idaho State Police,” said Rep. Trail.
But for now, when it comes to marijuana agencies like ISP must enforce the laws as they currently stand.
“Once they cross the border they need to put it away or drop it off somewhere because we aren't going to tolerate them bringing it into our state,” said Sgt. Burke.
Back in late January, Idaho State police picked up a man also traveling on I-84, this time he was stopped near Caldwell accused of felony drug trafficking. He was carrying 69 pounds of marijuana, which has an estimated street value of over $400,000.