It's an interesting time in America. The majority of states (although not Iowa) have legalized marijuana for medical use. Most states, including Iowa, have legalized low-THC CBD, a cannabis derivative, for medical purposes. And, last year, the federal government legalized hemp, a relative of marijuana that contains almost no THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. However, states that have anti-hemp laws have generally not lifted them.
The state of Iowa could reduce its incarcerated population by 5,427 and save $360,400,064 by doing so -- all without a major impact on public safety, according to the ACLU of Iowa. The organization, along with ACLU affiliates nationwide, recently released a blueprint to reduce mass incarceration in the state.
If a drug field test comes back positive, that is generally considered enough to justify an arrest. Field tests are inadmissible in most courts, so further testing must be performed by a lab. Unfortunately, lab results can take months to come back. If a field test is inaccurate, an innocent person could be stuck in jail for a long time before the inaccuracy is discovered.
Driving while under the influence of drugs can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. In fact, if you are pulled over in Iowa and are found to have any amount of controlled or illegal substance in your bloodstream or urine, you can be charged with OWI.
It appears that the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill backed by bipartisan groups and supported by the President, may yet come up for a vote this year. The bill proposes changes in federal criminal sentencing and promises some reforms in the prison system.
If you are charged with a drug crime, drug court may offer a way for you to regain freedom and control over your life while receiving substance abuse treatment. Drug court also keeps those charged from being incarcerated.
On May 3, an Iowa jury found three men guilty of multiple drug and firearms crimes. The trio will be sentenced on Sept. 12.
A Waterloo father and his two sons were charged for conspiring to distribute cocaine. The three were convicted by a jury in federal court following a trial that lasted for five days.
Much of the United States has taken a more relaxed stance on marijuana in the last few years. Many states, including Minnesota and Illinois, have approved the use of medical marijuana. Others, like Nebraska and Missouri, have revised possession laws, reducing the penalties.
Iowa police have reported that marijuana with a street value of $56,000 was discovered during the search of a Hancock County residence on April 19. Media reports indicate that a 28-year-old man was taken into custody at the scene in connection with seized drugs. He has been charged with both misdemeanor and felony drug possession and faces a sentencing enhancement because the narcotics were discovered with 1,000 feet of a public park. He was released from the Winnebago County Jail on April 19 after paying a $10,000 bond.