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Iowa Marijuana Laws

With so many states recently amending their drug laws to allow for medical marijuana and, in some states, legalize recreational marijuana use, you may be wondering if pot is legal in the Hawkeye State. The short answer is no, unless you qualify under a very specific medical context. This is an introduction to Iowa's marijuana laws.

Marijuana Laws in Iowa

In 2014, Iowa became one of a few states to legalize the possession and use of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive extract naturally found in marijuana plants. Even then, use of cannabidiol is limited to patients with intractable epilepsy and the law only provides for an affirmative defense for individuals and their caregivers if they are charged with possession of the extract. For the rest of the state, marijuana possession and sale remain illegal in Iowa. Selling marijuana in the state is a felony, punishable by up to 50 years in prison depending on the amount of marijuana, the location of the sale, and the criminal history of the defendant. The chart below lists the details of Iowa's marijuana statutes.

Code Section

Iowa Code 124, et seq.: Controlled Substances




Under 50 kg.: Class D felony, fine $1000 to $5000; 50 to 100 kg.: Class C felony, fine $1000 to $50,000; 100 to 1000 kg.: Class B felony, $5000 to $100,000; Over 1000 kg.: Class B felony with penalty of up to 50 yrs. and $1,000,000; Subsequent offense: triple penalties; more severe penalties for distribution to minor or to person 3 yrs. younger



While state marijuana laws may regulate the drug within state borders, the federal Controlled Substance Act also criminalizes marijuana possession, sale, and trafficking nationwide. So even if a state's marijuana laws say it's legal, federal law always wins if there is a conflict. For the most part, federal law enforcement agencies have left policing in-state marijuana incidents up to in-state authorities. But the federal government may still enforce restrictions on interstate cases of marijuana possession, manufacturing and cultivation and trafficking and distribution.

Related Resources for Iowa Marijuana Laws:

Drug charges can carry serious penalties. You can consult with an Iowa drug crime attorney if you would like legal advice regarding a drug issue. You can also find additional articles and resources in FindLaw's section on Drug Charges. Finally, if you or someone you know may have a drug problem, Iowa's Department of Public Health has substance abuse resources that could help.

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