The legalization of marijuana has been a hot button topic in the United States for decades. Only in the 1990s did several states finally pass legislation that allowed for medicinal purposes. Those states were California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Maine.

As of 2021, it is legal in 21 of the 50 states to smoke weed recreationally.

In Iowa, the use of the drug remains very much illegal -- including strict boundaries on medical use. According to leafly.com,

Preparations such as capsules, tinctures, and lotions are legal, but smokable medical marijuana is not legal.

and

Patients may purchase up to 4.5 grams of THC every 90 days, with some exceptions made for those who require more to effectively treat their condition.

With the staunch restrictions on the use of the drug, one would think the majority of the public would back the legislators decisions. That's not the case in Iowa or the U.S. as a whole. According to the Des Moines Register,

In the new Iowa Poll, 54% of adults say they favor legalizing marijuana for recreational use, 39% oppose it and 6% are unsure.

It continues:

The new poll also shows that support for expanding Iowa’s medical marijuana program remains strong, with 78% of adults saying the program should cover more diseases and conditions. Just 14% oppose such a move, and 7% are unsure.

Nationally, the Pew Research Center collected the following data,

An overwhelming share of U.S. adults (91%) say either that marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use (60%) or that it should be legal for medical use only (31%). Fewer than one-in-ten (8%) say marijuana should not be legal for use by adults.

Despite the clear beliefs of the public, Iowa's Senators remain firm in their decision to not push legalization forward.

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.

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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.

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Though the pair don't support the recreational use of the drug, they both were sponsors of the Cannabidiol and Marijuana Research Expansion Act, which would, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette:

  • Require the attorney general to grant research authorization to applicants who meet certain requirements.
  • Allow researchers to request larger quantities and different strains of cannabis.
  • Exclude hemp-derived CBD from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.
  • Direct drug regulators to approve cannabis-based treatments.
  • Allow doctors to discuss harms and benefits of marijuana with patients.

The bill was tabled by the House of Representatives in December of 2020.

There are a multitude of positive reasons for the proposed legalization of recreational marijuana use and negatives results that may come from sweeping legislation making it accessible. To view a comprehensive list, you can visit marijuana.procon.org.

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