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Iowa Legalization Campaign Gives a Voice to the People

The Campaign for Sensible Cannabis Laws is a nonpartisan organization that is striving to “reform Iowa’s medical and recreational cannabis laws based on fairness, financial prudence, and common sense.”

The group recently launched its newest campaign, which is led by Bradley Knott and Pete D’Alessandro. Knott recently wrote an article on their efforts to bring Iowa in line with other states who have legalized marijuana. “Cannabis reform is sweeping the country. Reform is being supported by majorities of all political stripes, including those in Montana and South Dakota that are ruby reds and Montana and the New Yorkers who remain perpetually blue. In some states it’s a stronger medical program,” Knott wrote. “In other states voters have gone all in for both medical and recreational cannabis. In Iowa, we don’t have a choice. We don’t even have a voice.”

Knott explains how tax revenue of Iowa’s neighboring states have been invested back into the community in ways of education, health care, and other beneficial services. A poll from 2021 was also mentioned by Knott, where 81% of Iowans wanted a stronger program for medical cannabis, while 71% of residents of the state under 35 supported adult-use legalization. 56% of people between 35 and 54 supported this as well.

Many Iowa legislators aren’t onboard with this idea despite the positive statistics. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds was against legalizing cannabis in Illinois. Kim Reynolds expressed very clearly that she doesn’t support the cause. “I do not support recreational marijuana. I don’t. I won’t be the governor to do that,” she told The GazetteIn June 2019, In June 2019, she shared her conviction that cannabis can be used as a gateway drug to other drugs.

Knott says that legislators in the states should listen to people who are able to cast their votes on the subject. “Iowans are sensible people. They pride themselves on their state, and they have empathy for those in need. And Iowa’s current cannabis laws make no sense,” he states plainly. “They make no sense if you want to capture lost tax dollars going to Illinois and Colorado. Or you want to build on and diversify Iowa’s excellence in agriculture, or stop the brain drain and keep the young folks here. Iowa’s cannabis laws make no sense if you want to help people who suffer from, or care for someone with, chronic pain, autism, cancer, or seizures. They make no sense if you believe in equal treatment or wise use of public safety dollars and keeping nonviolent offenders from crowding jails.”

A few Iowa lawmakers support legalization, however, as shown by the Senate Joint Resolution 2003 that would have changed the Iowa constitution in order to allow adult-use cannabis. But it was not enough to be made law. The Gazette states is due to the Republican-controlled House and Senate. Legislators like Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls believe that legalization is “long past due” though. “Democrats support legalization and Republicans oppose legalization, [and] Iowans who want legal cannabis need to vote for Democrats this election,” Wahls said.

Iowa senators Joe Bolkcom and Janet Petersen joined forces in December 2021 to promote a constitutional amendment that would legalize adult-use. Bolkcom called out opposing legislators who aren’t considering the will of the people. “This has become a mainstream issue. “The majority of Iowans support this,” Bolkcom said. “The Republicans are in the minority on this. That said, we need their help to move this constitutional amendment to voters so they can have their voices heard.”

Iowans are encouraged to support the Campaign for Sensible Cannabis Laws. They can sign a petition on their website and also donate to the grassroots legalization efforts.