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As the legislation surrounding the possession and consumption of weed changes across the United States, it can be difficult to know what is and isn’t legal in your state.
This can lead to a lot of confusion and stress about consuming cannabis or how to go about obtaining cannabis legally.
In this quick guide, we will look at whether weed is legal in Iowa, how you can get weed in the state, and what penalties you can face if you don’t adhere to the current legislation.
Has Weed Been Legalized In Iowa?
Weed has not been made fully legal in Iowa as of 2023. Because of this status, there are vastly different rules that apply to recreational use and medical use.
Below, we will outline the rules for both types of consumption and the requirements to qualify for both categories.
Recreational Marijuana Use
Recreational marijuana use is completely illegal in Iowa. It is against the law to consume, grow, sell, or share cannabis in marijuana.
Unlike many other states in which recreational marijuana use is still illegal, it hasn’t even been decriminalized in Iowa.
This means that if you are found to be in possession of any amount of cannabis, even for personal use, you could be punished with monetary fines and even prison sentences depending on the amount you were caught with.
Medical Marijuana Use
Despite the harsh laws surrounding the recreational use of cannabis in Iowa, medical marijuana has been somewhat legalized in the state.
The program that legalizes marijuana as a medical treatment hasn’t been completed yet, but patients can still access medical cannabis.
Iowa state lawmakers have banned cannabis in all smokable forms. This means that medical marijuana patients do not have access to buds, vapes, or concentrates.
Instead, licensed pharmacies and dispensaries can offer capsules, lotions, and tinctures that contain THC.
There are also limits on the amount of cannabis product that a medical marijuana patient can have on them at one time.
Eligible patients can purchase up to 4.5 grams of THC every 90 days.
With that being said, there are some exceptions for patients who require higher amounts of cannabis to successfully alleviate the symptoms of their illness.
If you qualify for a higher limit of cannabis, this will be indicated on your medical marijuana card so you don’t get into trouble with the police.
Penalties For Marijuana Possession
Because marijuana isn’t legal or decriminalized in Iowa, being found to be in possession of it without a valid medical marijuana card carries certain penalties.
The severity of these penalties depends on the amount of cannabis that you are caught with. However, all of the penalties for possession are strict in Iowa.
For your first offense, no matter how much cannabis you have on you, you could face six months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
For any subsequent offense involving cannabis possession the jail time that you face increases to 2 years. The fine that you get also increases to $6,250.
It is also possible to be referred to a drug treatment program.
If you are caught selling or in possession of cannabis paraphernalia, you may face misdemeanor charges.
These charges can carry sentences of up to 6 months in prison and a fine of $1,000. Cannabis paraphernalia includes bongs, pipes, and grinders.
If you are caught growing cannabis plants, you will be charged with a felony. The minimum fine for this crime is $75,000 for amounts below 50 kilograms.
If you have grown over 100 kilograms of marijuana, the fine rises to $1 million.
The prison sentence associated with growing marijuana plants in Iowa is capped at 50 years. It really isn’t worth the risk of getting caught to grow your own marijuana.
Can Marijuana Be Smoked In Public In Iowa?
Smoking cannabis in public is illegal in the state of Iowa. In fact, the consumption of THC in any form in public is against the law whether it is recreational or medicinal.
If you are caught consuming cannabis in any form in Iowa, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. A conviction could result in a year’s imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,875.
If you are found to be consuming weed near a park or school, the charge rises from a misdemeanor to a felony.
This felony can be punishable with a mandatory prison sentence of 10 years. You will also be fined $100,000.
Can You Grow Weed In Iowa?
As we mentioned above, growing weed is illegal in Iowa. If you are caught growing marijuana plants, you could be facing up to 50 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.
Even if you are a medical marijuana patient, you are not permitted to grow your own plants, even for personal consumption.
The only cannabis products that you are allowed to be in possession of as a medical marijuana user comes from licensed dispensaries.
It must also be in a form that is approved by the state such as capsules and lotions.
Can You Travel With Weed In Iowa?
Traveling with marijuana is illegal in Iowa. Having any amount of cannabis on you will result in charges for possession.
We have already discussed the punishments that come with possession charges.
If you are a medical marijuana user and have restocked from your pharmacy, you should have your medical marijuana card, a receipt, and your prescription on you to prove that you have just purchased the medicine.
What Is The Future Of Cannabis Legalization In Iowa?
Despite the progress that is being made in other parts of the country in regard to decriminalization and legalization of weed, Iowa seems to be pretty far behind.
Cannabis is only available in certain forms for medicinal purposes in Iowa. Possession is still punishable by prison time and fines.
The rules surrounding the use and possession of cannabis are still incredibly strict in the state.
Learn more about Midwest weed laws and the legal status of cannabis in neighboring states:
- Is weed legal in Illinois?
- Is weed legal in Minnesota?
- Is weed legal in Missouri?
- Is weed legal in Nebraska?
- Is weed legal in South Dakota?
- Is weed legal in Wisconsin?
I’m an avid gardener and cannabis enthusiast. You can usually find me in my garden caring for my plants or at my computer crafting helpful blogs for my readers.