Iowa Democrats Unveil Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization Bill

Iowa’s Democratic state lawmakers have unveiled — but stopped short of formally introducing — their proposal to legalize cannabis for adult use.

Full story after the jump.

Iowa House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled legislation to legalize cannabis for adult use, Iowa Capital Dispatch reports. Lawmakers, however, stopped short of formally introducing the measure which would legalize cannabis products with up to 500 milligrams of THC for adults 21-and-older. 

House Minority Whip Rep. Lindsay James said the proposal “will keep Iowans safe” while preventing tax dollars from “going to neighboring states.” She said the measure would also “improve the quality of life for Iowans suffering from chronic illnesses and stop wasting state resources to unfairly punish Iowans.”  

Iowa is bordered by Illinois which legalized adult cannabis use in 2020 and Missouri where adult-use cannabis sales launched this month.   

Iowa does have a low-THC medical cannabis program. In 2022, medical cannabis sales in the state reached $10 million. 

The legalization bill includes a 10% excise tax on cannabis sales and counties would have the option of imposing an addition 1% surcharge on state and local taxes derived from cannabis sales. Under the measure, cannabis excise taxes would be used for education, mental health services, and local public safety. 

The measure faces an uphill battle as Republicans control both legislative chambers and the governor’s office. Last year, Rep. Steven Holt, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said he would “never support” cannabis legalization, according to the Capital Dispatch. 

A poll released in 2020 found 53% of Iowans support the reforms. 

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