Government

Will Iowa legalize marijuana? 'I won't be the governor to do that,' Reynolds says

Iowa won't join Illinois in legalizing recreational pot, governor says

A marijuana starter plant is for sale at a medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle, Wash. (REUTERS/file photo)
A marijuana starter plant is for sale at a medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle, Wash. (REUTERS/file photo)
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DES MOINES — Illinois is slated to become the 11th U.S. state to legalize marijuana when dispensaries begin offering products for recreational use as soon as Jan. 1, but Gov. Kim Reynolds said Friday that Iowa will not join that growing list of states under her watch.

“I do not support recreational marijuana. I don’t,” Reynolds said in an interview with The Gazette. “I won’t be the governor to do that.”

She noted that marijuana remains illegal under federal law and she raised concerns that state law enforcement and transportation are reporting that drug-related traffic deaths have surpassed fatalities caused by drunken drivers — which points to the need for more education about the dangers associated with driving while impaired.

“I don’t believe in recreational marijuana. I just don’t,” Reynolds said. “I just think that when the data continues to come in, especially with the strength that we’re seeing, the potency, the amount of psychotic episodes that are happening, it’s a gateway and there are statistics there to support that.

“Medical is different. I think we need to be cautious and careful. I think we’re seeing the benefits from the cannabidiol oil that has none or very little of the THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in it and it’s having an impact,” she said. “But I just think we need to be cautious.”

l Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

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