By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
The House Judiciary, Rules and Administrative Committee introduced a bill on Tuesday that would add fentanyl to the drug trafficking statute and add a mandatory minimum prison sentence.
Rep. Chris Allgood, R-Caldwell, introduced the bill, which would introduce a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years for those possessing between 7 and 14 grams of fentanyl. The bill also states a “mixture of” fentanyl weighing at least 7 grams would qualify.
Possessing 14 to 28 grams of fentanyl would have a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and 28 grams or more would carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Allgood noted that fentanyl is currently the leading cause of death among adult Americans under the age of 50.
The bill also increases the amount of heroin a person must possess to qualify as a trafficking charge to 7 grams, up from the current 2 grams.
Possessing less than 7 grams of an illicit drug is still illegal, but under this bill, wouldn’t count as trafficking.
Rep. David Cannon, R-Blackfoot, expressed concern about the law not stating an intent to sell or traffic the drug, but simply possessing a specific weight.
Allgood, a former police chief, said 7 grams would definitely be a delivery weight of drugs, not personal use.
“This is directed towards traffickers specifically,” Allgood said.
Rep. Joe Alfieri, R-Coeur d’Alene, also expressed concern about the state’s inability to detect how much of a substance is fentanyl or just another drug with some fentanyl mixed in.
The bill must still get a public hearing before it can move forward.