Protesters in Iowa demanding changes to marijuana laws, from Cedar Rapids and Iowa City to Des Moines, have an ally in Sen. Joe Bolkcom of Johnson County.
“I hope that people that are protesting continue to raise this with their policymakers. It’s an important law to change for a whole host of reasons,” he said.
Bolkcom, a Democrat, has been an advocate for changing the state’s laws around weed.
He said studies like an April report from the ACLU, showing that Black Iowans are more than seven times likelier to be arrested for marijuana possession than White Iowans, prove the laws aren’t working and aren’t being equally enforced.
“In 2018, there were more than 5,000 convictions for marijuana possession in Iowa,” Bolkcom said. “That’s an extraordinary waste of money to put all those legal resources and jail time and prison time, actually, for some people, into that effort.”
Bolkcom and some of the protesters want the state to decriminalize marijuana, meaning anyone caught with a small amount of it would face a fine but not jail time, like how a parking ticket is handled.
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