Iowa Legislature back in session; will this be the year for reform?

 

Last update: January 13, 2017

 

On January 9, 2017, lawmakers reconvened in Des Moines for their legislative session. And advocates are working hard to make this the year that Iowa finally embraces a comprehensive medical marijuana program. While 28 states and the District of Columbia have seen the wisdom in taking this step, seriously ill Iowans remain without access to this critical treatment option.

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 very harsh marijuana laws. 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 low-income and communities of color 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, which would have been a big improvement upon the status quo. 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!


Stay connected

 

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.