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Iowa Legislature Looks to Expand Medical Marijuana and Reduce Possession Penalties

Currently, Iowans can face up to six months in jail for possession of one joint.

by Zach Harris

As a legislative deadline in Iowa’s state house nears, representatives and senators are scrambling to submit as much new policy as possible, including a couple bills that deal with the state’s medical marijuana policy and Iowa’s draconian possession punishments.

Iowa’s current medical marijuana program is set to expire on July 1st, and while the rule only allows for low-THC, high-CBD oils (and still doesn’t allow the cultivation or production of said oils), a bill filed in the Iowa house would extend that law.

Medical marijuana proponents have also tried to expand the law, as the Courier reported, Senator Brad Zaun introduced a bill that would allow for the growth and sale of medical marijuana, but the bill is unfortunately expected to be shot down before it can reach a vote.

Outside of the medical realm, Senate File 280 would reduce the punishment for possession of less than five grams of marijuana. Currently, simple possession can result in up to six months of jail time and a fine of $1,000. If SF280 passes, it would reduce the charge to a minor misdemeanor with a penalty of no more than 30 days in jail and a $65-$650 fine.

While that law would certainly help a lot of people out of sticky situations, the five gram limit shows just how stuck in the past Iowa still is concerning marijuana laws. Even if these measures become law, Iowa will still have a ways to go before it can join the ranks of America’s more progressive cannabis-friendly states.


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Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.



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