Iowa Democrats push for legal marijuana

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
73,029
52,691
113
Iowa Democrats are hoping legal edibles can turn their candidates into electables.


When Iowa House Democrats recently unveiled their election agenda, it included legalizing marijuana. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Deidre DeJear also supports legal cannabis. Senate Democrats floated a proposed constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana, allowing Iowans to vote on the issue like voters in other states.


The pot push hasn’t received much attention, probably because Democrats have such a slim chance of taking over a legislative majority or defeating Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds. Still, it’s an interesting development on Iowa’s political timeline.


Advertisement

Legalization is increasingly popular in Iowa, according to polling. In 2021 a Des Moines Register Iowa Poll on the topic found 54 percent of Iowans favor legal marijuana. That’s more than double the number of Iowans who supported it in 2013.


It’s often called “recreational” marijuana, but it has a serious side. Enforcement of criminal laws aimed at pot disproportionately affect Black Iowans, even though the marijuana use rate between Black and white Iowans is roughly equal. Iowa’s racial disparity in marijuana arrests is among the nation’s worst. And it’s a waste of law enforcement resources to enforce marijuana laws.


I’m not pretending legal marijuana would be problem-free. But this is a state where we can purchase and carry a handgun without a permit. We can buy enough fireworks to turn our neighborhood into a war zone and blow off as many digits as we please. And we’re never more than a few minutes away from places to buy high-octane booze in large quantities, if we want.


The Iowa freedom gift pack already contains a handgun, a bottle of Templeton Rye and a gross of Whistling Moon Travelers. Why not pot? Welcome to Highowa, I say.


But for some reason we continue to erect a reefer madness Maginot line against rolling up a joint or popping a cannabis gummy in this state. With Republicans in charge at the Statehouse, we can’t even talk about legalization. Decriminalization has a few GOP allies but still goes nowhere. Iowa’s medical marijuana program is woefully inadequate and Reynolds has opposed meaningful changes.


“I do not support recreational marijuana. I don’t,” Reynolds said in an interview with The Gazette back in 2019. “I won’t be the governor to do that.”


Opinion Newsletter Signup​


Newsletter Signup
checkmark-yellow.png
Delivered to your inbox daily







Maybe it’s cultural, with stoned liberal college hippies dancing in Republicans’ heads. No upstanding Iowan needs to indulge in weed. A case of Busch Light or a jug of Black Velvet, maybe, but never pot.


But like the real Maginot line, Iowans who want pot can simply go around it by driving to Illinois, where legal cannabis products are available.


"What the hell, Kim?" Libertarian candidate for governor Rick Stewart says in his recent TV ad touting his support for legal marijuana and opposition to the failed drug war. "Here I am in Illinois — why, only a few miles from the Iowa border — and they've got legal cannabis."


DeJear would legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana products to Iowans over the age of 21, similar to alcohol laws. She would support small businesses, especially those owned by people of color, to make sure “legal cannabis becomes a viable business opportunity for more than just corporations, “according to her website.


She would invest an estimated $50 million in annual state tax collections from cannabis sales in four areas: education, mental health care, paid parental leave and substance abuse prevention.


House Democrats also would permit the regulated sale of marijuana to Iowans over 21.


“What we're finding is that if there are opportunities to keep it safe, and to regulate what Iowans are using, if there are opportunities to leverage tax dollars to our priorities like education, we're finding that we can find consensus on those issues,” said House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst, D-Windsor Heights.


But if the Republican trifecta remains in place, it will be a real bummer for pot fans.


“When people violate the law, they get arrested. When people violate the law, they pay penalties,” Rep. Steven Holt, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee told Iowa Starting Line when asked about decriminalizing marijuana. “This is the law, and the law exists because we’re trying to decrease what we believe is the use of something that could be harmful.”


How about legalization? Holt said “that is something I would never support.” He’s fun at parties.


And yet, Republicans are running on a “freedom” agenda this fall. But they just have a different notion of what freedom means.


Under their definition, a person has the freedom to demand that their local public school conform to their individual worldview, from curriculum to books on library shelves. If that doesn’t work, they should have the freedom to take public education funding and use it to pay for private school tuition.


They believe in the freedom to sidestep public health directives during a pandemic, but women should be forced to give birth because abortion is severely restricted. Wealthy carbon capture pipeline developers should have the freedom to take Iowans’ land for their projects, paid for with billions in federal tax credits.


A proposed amendment to the state constitution would make gun ownership a fundamental right while directing the courts to subject any law related to firearms to “strict scrutiny.” That will curtail the ability of Iowans and their elected leaders in the future from enacting new firearms laws.


You might like to see your tax dollars spent to adequately fund higher education, public schools, mental health and so on. But Republicans prefer having the freedom to sock away our billions, brag about a large surplus and enact a new wave of tax cuts benefiting their donor class. And of course there’s the freedom farmers and landowners have to pollute waterways.


So it’s freedom for their ideological allies. The rest of us can love it or leave it.


If Republicans continue to run the state like this, the least they can do is let us have legal marijuana to numb the pain. Edibles might help us forget the contemptibles.

 

Kozisek

HR MVP
Sep 3, 2007
1,726
4,389
113
Pensacola, FL
I'd rather the Dems focus on improving things that are impacting American lives rather than spending their time legalizing a gateway drug.
Can we PLEASE stop with the gateway shit... I've smoked a few metric tons of pot in my day and have never felt the need for anything "stronger". Using gateway reasoning I should be strung out in the streets with meth mouth and fentanyl in my veins and coke in my nose. Oddly enough Ive never done any of those. Give up the gateway shit bruh. It's flat out not true
 

lucas80

HR King
Gold Member
Jan 30, 2008
99,814
132,554
113
There's that, but the GOP is also talking about being the party of freedom. If I can easily grow something in my yard, I should be able to consume it.
There actually was a bi-partisan move in Iowa a few years ago, but our alcoholic governor squashed it because of her demons. Or, her inability to put her issues aside and be the governor for everyone.
Not having legal marijuana in Iowa is largely due to one person.
 

ConvenientParking

HR Legend
Gold Member
Jun 28, 2016
28,260
35,992
113
There actually was a bi-partisan move in Iowa a few years ago, but our alcoholic governor squashed it because of her demons. Or, her inability to put her issues aside and be the governor for everyone.
Not having legal marijuana in Iowa is largely due to one person.
It's what they teach you after a week or two in any good recovery program. "If you can't think of any better reasons for something, project your own weaknesses on everyone else and then operate like that's reasonable."
 

Hawked

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Oct 1, 2001
7,245
7,042
113
It's only a gateway drug because you have to buy it from drug dealers. If the only place to buy beer sold meth, beer would be a gateway drug too.

I think the Republicans should jump on this and run with it before it costs them.

Agreed. Beer is a major gateway drug but nobody cares. How many stupid things did you do/try while drunk? I know I've done a few. That's when a lot of people try weed, cigarettes, sex, etc for the first time.
 

hawkeye54545

HR Legend
Gold Member
Apr 25, 2005
21,686
33,121
113
I don't care if people smoke or not so im fine if it's legal. I did read where only 16% do partake in it so not sure if it is a winning issue.
 

DooBi

HR Heisman
Sep 18, 2006
7,611
8,229
113
In general, it's always been a scummier crowd who partake. I'm glad it's no more than 16%.

Such a small and sad lot.
Again, I think that has a lot to do with the environment and the people that you'd have to deal with. I bet 5 or 10 years after legalization it would be no scummier than the bar.
 

HawkeyeShawn

HR Heisman
Nov 9, 2001
7,344
6,575
113
I will continue to vote Dems in Iowa. This needs to happen ASAP. I can only get so high with my Iowa and Missouri medical cards.
 

Jimmy McGill

HR Legend
Gold Member
Sep 9, 2018
15,473
26,491
113
Earth
In general, it's always been a scummier crowd who partake. I'm glad it's no more than 16%.

Well, you are either very naive, or just plain stupid.

You would be surprised by how many upstanding leaders in both parties and local politicians partake. I'm not going to out anyone, but I have personally observed some major business and political folks spark a joint.
 

Hawked

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Oct 1, 2001
7,245
7,042
113
Well, you are either very naive, or just plain stupid.

You would be surprised by how many upstanding leaders in both parties and local politicians partake. I'm not going to out anyone, but I have personally observed some major business and political folks spark a joint.

Plain stupid is my vote. You're right and I GUARANTEE there are people in his life who he thinks are clean, upstanding people that get ripped on a regular.
 

Huey Grey

HR King
Jan 15, 2013
50,526
73,960
113
GOP would be wise to legalize weed sooner before later.
I see no pathway for this. Reynolds will win reelection and she is heavily opposed to the idea. Rs have a supermajority in both House and Senate and they don't support it either. Meanwhile the Court is all Rs. Iowa is at least a decade, at the soonest, of even being able to entertain the idea.
 

ConvenientParking

HR Legend
Gold Member
Jun 28, 2016
28,260
35,992
113
Fear not Iowans, we may never have legal weed but we will never run out of mediocre-to-awful Protestant numpties patting themselves on the back for absolutely no goddamned reason that makes sense to any neutral observer.
 

Finance85

HR Legend
Oct 22, 2003
18,781
20,268
113
You don't understand. Kimmie couldn't handle her liquor, so you can't grow your own pot. It's as simple as that.
You are right, there's a lot I don't understand. The main reason I hate the GOP is they always want to be the morality police. There are already laws against driving while impaired, etc, etc. I'm not aware of a single person ever saying they didn't smoke weed because it's against the law.
 
Was over in Milan IL last weekend, the line was around the building to buy some weed, and just about every car in the parking lot had Iowa plates. Just keep giving that money to Illinois!!
Two more dispensaries coming to the Illinois side of the quads in the next 3-6 months and that is just in Moline.

I fully expect Rock Island to also follow suit soon.

Iowa is literally letting MILLIONS in tax dollars flow into Illinois coffers for no other reason than that the Iowa governor is a washed up alcoholic.
 

Firekirknow

Team MVP
Aug 20, 2013
236
228
43
You are right, there's a lot I don't understand. The main reason I hate the GOP is they always want to be the morality police. There are already laws against driving while impaired, etc, etc. I'm not aware of a single person ever saying they didn't smoke weed because it's against the law.
I know several who don’t smoke because it’s against the law. Good point about GOP being morality police. Their morals are so backward it’s ridiculous.
 
  • Like
Reactions: cigaretteman