On Feb. 21, 2023, Iowa Democratic legislators introduced a bill that would permit adult-use cannabis for recreational purposes. The proposed legislation would make it legal for adults 21 years and older with valid identification to possess cannabis with up to 500 milligrams of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The legislation, which has yet to be formally brought to the House, also establishes a tax on authorized cannabis sales and lays the groundwork for regulated commercial marijuana sales.
According to House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst, Iowans of all political persuasions have voiced their strong support for legalizing marijuana, and thus the legislation was not focused on politics but on the needs of the people. Additionally, she stated that the legislation was an opportunity for lawmakers to put differences of opinion aside and work cooperatively to accomplish a goal that the majority of Iowans share.
The measure also changes the classification of marijuana possession of up to a half ounce from a criminal offense to a civil offense, eliminating the criminal penalties. Additionally, the bill expunges convictions for nonviolent cannabis possession convictions and minimizes other possession convictions from felonies to infractions.
It gives the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Division (IABD) control over the marijuana market and permits regulated companies to distribute and produce cannabis through authorized dispensaries. To monitor regulated marijuana products and aid in preventing their diversion to the black market, the division is also mandated by the bill to implement a production-to-sale system for tracking.
The proposal to legalize marijuana imposes a 10% tax on commercial marijuana products, with the proceeds going to public safety organizations, schools and mental health institutions. County governments would also be allowed to add a 1% surcharge to local and state taxes.
According to Konfrst, legalizing cannabis in Iowa would prevent the tax revenue from being sent to neighboring states that have legalized the drug. Michigan and Illinois, which border Iowa, both permit the use of recreational cannabis.
According to a 2021 Des Moines Iowa poll, 54% of Iowans support legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Despite the overwhelming support, the legislation is unlikely to be passed by the GOP-controlled legislature. Republican Party leaders stated last month that they do not anticipate cannabis legalization legislation to pass this year. Steve Holt, the House Judiciary Committee chair, stated last year that while there is a need for disincentives in the law, he would not support the legalization of marijuana.
Meanwhile, some entities, such as India Globalization Capital Inc. (NYSE American: IGC), aren’t waiting for cannabis prohibition to be ended countrywide. Instead, they have opted to take their products through the preclinical and clinical development process so that the FDA and other regulators can give those formulations the nod for use by patients with the ailments they target.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to India Globalization Capital Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC
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