A month ago, I put together an article pertaining to the legalization of recreational marijuana in the Hawkeye State. Our two senators -- Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley -- are firmly against it.
According to iowacapitaldispatch.com, Chuck Grassley said the following on marijuana use:
Despite a number of states legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, there is unfortunately not enough research into the impacts of marijuana use in the long term, particularly for adolescent or pregnant users.
Joni Ernst said something similar, per vote.norml.org:
What I would like to see happen first is to see concrete medical evidence that this can be appropriately controlled and utilized in a very very controlled manner. I would like to see additional research done on medical marijuana before we throw it at Iowans.
That's not the case with state senators and democrats Joe Bolkcom, Janet Petersen, and Sarah Trone Garriott. According to We Are Iowa
, they held a press conference yesterday where they proposed "a constitutional amendment during the next legislative session that would treat marijuana like alcohol in the state of Iowa."
Bolkcom, who represents District 43 in Iowa, had this to say regarding what the legalization would entail:
It would basically begin to treat marijuana like we treat a six pack of beer, and so that consumers would be able to legally purchase it if they are 21 years of age and older.
According to the Iowa Legislature
, in order for the amendment to be passed, it "must be agreed to by two successive General Assemblies and ratified by a majority of the electors voting at an election designated by the General Assembly." So following an agreement by state senate Republicans, if Iowans vote, yes, marijuana would be legalized in our state. Bolkcom hopes that "Republicans will see the value" in letting Iowa voters decide.
The trio pointed to the economic benefits of legalization of the drug as well, noting states like Illinois to exemplify what may be done with taxes taken in from its sale. Per Marijuana Moment
, Illinois sold about $670 million in marijuana last year and took in $205.4 million in tax revenue. Iowa has an opportunity to avoid significant costs as well, considering the number of individuals who are put in jail for the sale and use of marijuana.
When you think about the cost of doing convictions on 4,300-plus Iowans a year, it's really expensive for your county attorney, your county sheriff, your local police department, all of that property taxes. That's a major impact that I think a lot of Iowans will see some benefit from simply eradicating those offenses to our tax bills. -Joe Bolkcom
Iowa would join the following states, along with Washington D.C., in full legalization of the drug:
- New Mexico
- New Jersey
- New York
- South Dakota
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