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It’s time. 

A majority of Iowans support legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use and it’s time for state leaders to follow their lead. 

Neighboring states are moving toward recreational legalization, with ballot initiatives underway in Missouri and South Dakota, partial recreational legalization of THC products in Minnesota, and full legalization in Illinois. Legalizing marijuana for adult use will ensure product safety, it will stop our tax dollars from going to neighboring states, improve the quality of life for Iowans suffering from chronic illnesses, and stop wasting state resources to unfairly punish Iowans.

While some still think marijuana is taboo, it’s not for most Iowans nor is it a new conversation. Those that I’ve talked to in communities of all sizes have brought up marijuana legalization in a variety of ways. For years, Iowans have been advocating for safe relief from their chronic pain while Governor Reynolds and too many lawmakers have turned them away and left them with addictive opioids as their only option. We need cannabis laws that restore folks’ dignity, that honors their struggle with chronic illness, and offers a safer alternative to harsh narcotics during an opioid epidemic.

Iowans have made it clear: they want to be afforded the freedom to make health decisions for themselves. They want to be ensured the product is safe and vetted. Unregulated marijuana can be laced with a multitude of psychoactive drugs with varied effects. Legalizing the use of recreational marijuana for adult use allows the state to regulate who grows and manufactures the product, offering a dependable substance for Iowans to use.

Additionally, the state is losing out on huge fiscal benefits to invest in education and our local communities. We’re not talking a small amount of change, either.  In 2021 alone, Colorado’s marijuana industry generated $423 million in tax revenue. More than $12 billion in marijuana has been sold since legalization in 2014, with the state collecting over $2 billion in taxes.

Inaction on legalization is just another reason why Iowans are so fed up with politics.  It isn’t a partisan issue and it’s clear the benefits far outweigh any small risks. 

It’s just time: legalize marijuana.


Democrat State Rep. Konfrst is the minority leader of the Iowa House. 


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