DES MOINES — Marijuana has been sold for recreational use in Illinois for nearly two years and just this month it became legal to sell, use and possess marijuana in Missouri, but the Republican-led Iowa legislature is unlikely to mimic those moves.
House Speaker Pat Grassley says marijuana legalization just wasn’t a campaign issue. “That is not what we heard from Iowans in this election,” Grassley says. “…I don’t think there was a lot of murkiness in the results and the path forward for the state.”
Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver says under federal law, it’s still illegal to bring marijuana across state lines — and Whitver doesn’t expect any changes in Iowa’s program that licenses growers and the dispensaries which sell cannabis products for a list of specific medical conditions.
“I mean I’m sure there’ll be a debate, there’ll be a conversation,” Whitver says. “I don’t envision any drastic changes to either one of those.”
In October, Democrats running for seats in the Iowa House called for legalizing marijuana in Iowa. House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst says it will still be a priority issue for Democrats in 2023.
“This is wildly popular. There are tax benefits. There are opportunities for economic growth in the state, not losing revenue to other states,” Konfrst says. “I’m just getting the sense that there’s not a lot of appetite for it at the leadership level or in the governor’s office.”
A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll conducted last March found 54% of the adults surveyed were in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Last month, 53% of Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment that legalized recreational marijuana in Missouri.