Iowa families push for medical marijuana access
Last update: March 28, 2016
Iowa patient advocates and their loved ones have been organizing to bring a comprehensive medical marijuana program to the state, including at a large public rally on March 22. While multiple bills have been introduced – including HF 2384, which would expand the existing limited cannabidiol law (which you can read more about here) – so far none have secured a hearing. That is why it is essential that supporters continue to call for compassionate reform to bring the relief that so many Iowan families need.
The 2015 session saw the Iowa Senate vote 26-19 in support of a compassionate and comprehensive medical marijuana proposal! The bill would have allowed Iowans suffering from a variety of debilitating conditions — including HIV/AIDS, cancer, MS, and epilepsy — to use and safely access medical marijuana with their doctors’ recommendations. Unfortunately, despite popular support for the proposal, the House failed to debate the issue in 2015. If you are a Hawkeye, please email your lawmakers and ask them to support a compassionate medical marijuana program this year. You can let them know an April 2015 Quinnipiac poll found that 87% of Iowans support the legalization of marijuana for medical use!
Are you a medical professional, patient, law enforcement official, or member of the clergy?
If you are supportive and are a medical professional, a seriously ill patient who might benefit from medical marijuana, a law enforcement official, a clergy member, or a member of the legal community, or you know someone else who is, please email [email protected] to see how you can be of special help. Please include your address or nine-digit ZIP code.
Learn more about Iowa’s marijuana laws
Iowa has harsh marijuana laws and arrested more than 6,600 people for marijuana offenses in 2010. First-offense possession of even a single joint is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, one of the most severe first offense penalties in the country. Unfortunately, these draconian penalties hit minority and low-income communities the hardest. According to the ACLU, blacks in Iowa are almost eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana prohibition than whites.
In 2015, in addition to approving legislation to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest and prosecution, the Iowa Senate approved legislation that would have reduced the penalties for possessing marijuana. The maximum sentence for possessing up to five grams of marijuana would have been reduced to 30 days in jail. This would have been a big improvement upon the status quo, which calls for up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both for possessing even a single gram of marijuana. Sadly, the House failed to debate this sensible bill. This is why it is so critical that Iowans email their lawmakers in support of reducing marijuana possession penalties. Or, ask your legislators to end marijuana prohibition now!
Thank you for supporting MPP. To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Iowa, be sure to subscribe to MPP’s free legislative alert service.