Democratic senators propose adult-use legalization

"The world is changing around us, and Iowa is left behind"

Three Democratic state senators plan to propose a constitutional amendment that would legalize the sale of adult-use cannabis in Iowa for people ages 21 and older. “Cannabis prohibition has been a costly failure,” said Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City. “It’s ending across America because it has caused far more harm than good.” 

Bolkcom and fellow senators Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, and Sarah Trone Garriott, D-Windsor Heights, said they will propose the amendment in the upcoming legislative session. They did not know whether the potential amendment would muster any support from Republicans, who control the Iowa House and Senate.

“We hope that Republicans will see the value in giving this decision over to Iowa voters,” said Bolkcom, who has unsuccessfully proposed legislation to legalize cannabis. He said more than 4,300 people were convicted of cannabis possession last year. Such convictions most often result in fines of hundreds or thousands of dollars and several days in jail, but repeat offenders can be sentenced to prison.

“The world is changing around us, and Iowa is being left behind,” Trone Garriott said.

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