Dozens Of Iowa Democratic Officials Push For Marijuana Legalization In 2021

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“Over half the states in the union have some form of legalized cannabis. If we follow suit here in Iowa and fully legalize marijuana, we can make progress on multiple fronts.” by Linh Ta, Iowa Capital Dispatch Iowa Democrats said Wednesday they want to legalize cannabis and regulate it at the same level as alcohol. So far, no Republicans, who hold the majority in the legislature, have publicly supported the measure. Nearly 40 Democrats, ranging from city council members to Iowa state senators, signed on in support of legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana and expunging the criminal records of Iowans who have been previously charged in misdemeanors for marijuana possession. Democrats are proposing three bills: One that establishes cannabis regulations that are similar to alcohol; a second bill that eliminates criminal penalties for possession of cannabis for personal use and expunges previous criminal records and a third bill that gives local governments the authority to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Supporters said legalizing marijuana is a step toward addressing the racial inequity Black Iowans face in the state’s criminal justice system. Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker said Black Iowans are more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than their white peers, even though they use it at the same levels. The ACLU of Iowa released a report in April that showed Black Iowans are seven times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, based on national law enforcement data. “Over half the states in the union have some form of legalized cannabis. If we follow suit here in Iowa and fully legalize marijuana, we can make progress on multiple fronts,” Walker said. Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague said legalizing marijuana will address both racial equity and a medical need for those who may use it…

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