Staff Columnist

Dwindling chance to modernize Iowa marijuana laws

Two important bills fail to advance in Iowa Legislature

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds delivers her Condition of the State Address to a joint assembly of the of state legislature at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds delivers her Condition of the State Address to a joint assembly of the of state legislature at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

The opportunity to make historic changes to Iowa’s marijuana laws may be going up in smoke.

Lawmakers introduced two important bills this session to bring Iowa’s marijuana laws in line with most other states. Following last week’s legislative funnel deadline, those bills are now ineligible for debate in the Legislature.

Senate File 2313 would improve Iowa’s heavily restricted medical cannabis program by empowering a state board and the Iowa Department of Public Health to cover additional medical conditions and update the limit on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis products.

Senate File 2180 would reduce penalties for first-time marijuana possession, making it a simple misdemeanor offense, which would save the state government an estimated $150,000 annually, in addition to savings at the local government level.

I wrote earlier this year, “If lawmakers approve both these bills, they will make as much progress on marijuana reform in one year than other Iowa Legislatures have in the past 100 years combined.”

Those bills each earned support from Iowa Senate committees this year, but have not been taken up by the full Senate or House.

The Legislature uses funnel deadlines to whittle down the number of bills under consideration as the session goes on. However, no bill is truly dead until the session adjourns, as House and Senate leaders have ways to revive bills late in the session.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Related: Two crucial marijuana bills in Iowa Legislature

• Comments: (319) 339-3156; adam.sullivan@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

Want to join the conversation?

Consider subscribing to TheGazette.com and participate in discussing the important issues to our community with other Gazette subscribers.

Already a Gazette or TheGazette.com subscriber? Just login here with your account email and password.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.