The Iowa Senate has passed three bills to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. If all goes as expected, Iowa will be among the first states to allow for its residents to purchase and consume cannabis legally on their own private property. The move would likely cripple legal weed businesses across the country while creating new opportunities for Iowans who have been struggling with drug-reliant economies since prohibition began in 1920.
The “senate file 406 iowa” is a bill that would legalize recreational cannabis in Iowa. The bill was introduced by three senators, and they hope to have it passed by the senate.
These Iowa senators want recreational cannabis to be legalized in 2022, but will the rest of the state government allow it?
In Iowa, a group of Democratic legislators wants to put marijuana legalization on the ballot.
Three state senators, Joe Bolkcom, Janet Petersen, and Sarah Trone Garriott, said at a news conference on Tuesday that they aim to introduce a constitutional amendment that would allow individuals aged 21 and above to consume recreational marijuana.
Bolkcom, who represents Iowa City (home of the University of Iowa), was cited by local television station KWQC as saying, “Marijuana prohibition has been an expensive failure.” “It’s coming to an end throughout America because it’s done more damage than good.”
The proposal “requires a simple majority in both the state house and senate in two consecutive General Assemblies to be included on a ballot,” according to the station, and “more than half of Iowans must vote for the amendment for it to become a part of the state’s constitution once it is on the ballot.” The three legislators “have submitted text to the Legislative Services Agency to propose this change in the upcoming legislative session,” according to KWQC.
According to the television station, Bolkcom added, “Right now, you can go to Hy-Vee or Kum & Go and get a six-pack of beer.”
“What this constitutional amendment would essentially do is treat marijuana in the same way that we treat a six-pack of beer.”
Bolkcom, Petersen, and Trone Garriott cited polling data indicating that Hawkeye State voters are ready to repeal the ban on marijuana. “54 percent of adults [in Iowa] say they favor legalizing marijuana for recreational use, 39 percent oppose it, and six percent are unsure,” according to a poll published earlier this year by the Des Moines Register, which was “about the same level of support shown in a March 2020 Iowa Poll, which for the first time found a majority of Iowans (53 percent) favored legalizing recreational marijuana.”
It’s a significant leap from 2013, when “just 29 percent of Iowa people indicated they backed the proposal; 68 percent opposed it, and three percent were unclear,” according to the same survey.
According to the Iowa Capital Dispatch, “Iowawans are ready to join the expanding list of states that are regulating marijuana for adult use.”
The senators also cited Illinois, Iowa’s eastern neighbor, which has legalized marijuana and now has a robust recreational industry. After attempts to repeal prohibition were thwarted by the state’s judicial system, South Dakota, another state bordering Iowa, may try to approve a legalization proposal next year.
According to KWQC, Trone Garriott remarked, “The world is changing around us, and Iowa is becoming left behind.”
“Unlike many of our neighbors, Iowans do not have the option of putting this subject on the ballot as a referendum.” So, we believe it’s past time for me to have a say and a vote in this subject.”
However, the three Democrats are already up against Republican opposition in the legislature. The bill will not make it out of committee, according to Republican state Senator Brad Zaun, who leads the senate justice committee.
“Gimmicks like a constitutional amendment on recreational marijuana do a better job of exposing Senate Democrats’ lack of solutions for solving Iowans’ issues than any reaction I have,” Zaun said to the Quad-City Times.
“I’m not going to move this measure out of the judiciary committee.”
On Tuesday, Bolkcom resorted to Twitter to criticize Republicans, claiming that they are out of touch with the majority of Iowans on the topic.
“This is now a widely discussed topic. According to the Quad-City Times, “the vast majority of Iowans approve this.”
“On this, Republicans are in the minority. That said, we need their assistance to get this constitutional amendment before voters so that their opinions may be heard.”
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