The Iowa Legislature is in full swing, and over a dozen bills have been filed that would improve the state’s marijuana policies. Sen. Brad Zaun’s (R) penalty reduction bill, SF 280, has already been reported favorably out of a Senate subcommittee. Under current Iowa law, possessing even the tiniest amount of marijuana can result in a serious misdemeanor conviction, a fine of up to $1,000, and six months of incarceration. SF 280 would reduce these penalties for up to five grams, resulting in a simple misdemeanor conviction, a fine of up to $625, and a 30-day sentence.
Meanwhile, the Legislature is also considering several medical-cannabis related measures. Iowa’s existing low-THC oil law allows patients with epilepsy to possess the oil but provides no means to actually purchase it; the law is set to expire on July 1, 2017. HSB 164 would eliminate this sunset provision, making the law permanent. Better yet, HSB 132 would set up a system to license cultivators and dispensaries to produce and distribute the oil, while SSB 1176 would establish a full workable medical marijuana program.
If you are an Iowa resident, please ask your lawmakers to support SF 280 and other bills to improve Hawkeye State policies.