Iowa Democrats are done waiting for the GOP-controlled legislature to act on marijuana reform. So on Tuesday, a group of legislators announced that they will soon be introducing a constitutional amendment to let voters decide on the issue of regulating cannabis “in a way similar to the way we regulate the use of alcohol by Iowans over the age of 21.”Sens. Joe Bolkcom (D), Janet Petersen (D), and Sarah Trone Garriott (D) unveiled the plan during a virtual briefing, emphasizing that since conventional, legislative measures to end prohibition have so far stalled in the state, a new approach is necessary. The effort will center on putting a constitutional amendment on the ballot. But in order to do so, the General Assembly will need to pass the proposal twice during two separate sessions, meaning the soonest voters will get to weigh in would be during the November 2024 election. It also means that the Republican-controlled legislature will need to get on board with the idea of a referendum on the issue. Bolkcom told Marijuana Moment in a phone interview on Tuesday that the plan is to pass the measure during the 100-day session that starts next month and then again in 2023. Asked whether he expects his GOP colleagues to resist a constitutional amendment on the issue as they have with standalone proposals, the senator said it’s a “jump ball” and “we’re trying to ascertain that at the moment.” Legislative leaders and the governor have maintained staunch opposition to reform efforts in the past, which is partly the reason that even Iowa’s medical cannabis program is especially limited compared to other states, Bolkom said.
Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 12/21/2021 16:52:00