Marijuana in Iowa: is This the Time to Legalize? [OPINION]
Marijuana: one of the most polarizing plants, or entities for that matter. Many, dare I say most, nationwide want it legalized, or decriminalized at the very least. Many states have already gone so far as to legalize it, most recently Iowa's neighbor to the east, Illinois. In fact, I was just in Illinois late last week and weekend. I chatted with someone who worked at the dispensary near where my family was staying, and he told me he thought Iowa would be next up to legalize. What proof he had is beyond me. But, that was his thought.
Illinois legalized recreational marijuana in 2020. The state brought in $582 million in revenue in the first year of its legalization according to WSIL. How much of that came from Iowans flocking to snag some? While it's impossible to know for sure, the Des Moines Register indicates the number is high. Um, no pun intended. It should also be noted other border states like Wisconsin also have not legalized recreational Mary Jane. So with all this money, we're missing out on, is it time for Iowa to 'jump into the game'?
Iowa and legalized weed: pros and cons
There are obvious pros to legalizing marijuana. Tax dollars, as discussed, and also, you'd imagine, fewer illegal sales from drug dealers and such. Another pro, it would please a majority of people according to a Des Moines Register poll. With Iowa being one of the first (non-Vegas) places to legalize sports betting, you'd assume lawmakers are keenly aware of tax revenue. Another pro would be fewer people getting locked up for buying and more than likely selling as one could walk into any dispensary and bypass a drug dealer.
But there are cons too. Legalizing a drug comes with increased ER visits, medical care, and addiction treatment. Plus, as with alcohol, minors can and will get their hands on it. There are also going to be idiots who drive under the influence and cause deadly accidents.
Where do these pros and cons leave Iowa? Have the states that legalized the drug shown us enough proof it's a good idea to go ahead and get in on the tax money? Or, have they proven it's dangerous and an unnecessary risk to safety? It's hard to answer that as, while it's not really my thing, it does appear to have the support of a majority of Iowans. And, who's to say what one person should or shouldn't do - within reason of course. I, personally, don't see a strong enough reason not to go ahead and legalize. Just one thing to consider, look at the massive failure that was prohibition: once it's legal, it needs to stay that way.