The decriminalization of marijuana is common in many states. Iowa isn't one of those states. Here, the law is still very unfavorable to people who smoke marijuana or use derivatives of cannabis.
In this state, the only people who can legally possess any derivative of marijuana are those who qualify to use cannabidiol under the state's very strict medical marijuana bill.
What's illegal in Iowa?
The possession, sale and cultivation of the drug are all illegal. Possession of paraphernalia is illegal. Interestingly, it is also illegal to sponsor, promote or assist a gathering in which marijuana might be possessed, distributed or used. All of these actions can lead to either misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the case.
Which marijuana charges are misdemeanors?
All possession of marijuana charges are misdemeanors. On a first offense, you face up to six months in jail. A second offense carries up to one year in jail and a third offense is up to two years. The amount of marijuana you are in possession of is not considered.
The possession, manufacturing or distribution of paraphernalia is also a misdemeanor. It carries up to six months of incarceration.
The misdemeanor charge of promoting, sponsoring or assisting with a marijuana-related gathering can mean up to a year in jail.
What marijuana charges are felonies?
All distribution and cultivation charges are felonies. The amount of the drug does matter in these cases.
Up to 50 kgs can mean a five-year prison sentence. More than 50 kgs up to 100 has a 10-year imprisonment possibility. From 100 to 1,000 kgs comes with a chance of up to 25 years in prison. More than that carries a 50-year prison sentence.
Some distribution and cultivation charges have enhancements that can mean more time in prison. If the situation involves a minor, there is a five-year mandatory minimum with a 25-year maximum prison term. Being within a 1,000 feet of a school bus, middle school, elementary school or park and having a minor involved comes with a 10-year mandatory minimum incarceration period.
As you can tell, the stakes are high in these cases. For people who are facing possession charges, there is a chance that the court will order them to go through a rehabilitation program instead of placing them in jail. It is imperative that you think carefully about every option you have for your defense before you head to court.