Did Iowa legalize marijuana?
Under Iowa criminal law, it could be a felony for someone to be in possession of marijuana or other controlled substances if they have not gone down to the Department of Revenue and obtained a drug tax stamp. For example, if you are in possession of roughly an ounce and a half of marijuana without the tax stamp, you are considered a "drug dealer" and need to obtain a drug tax stamp. This amount of marijuana is readily considered a personal usage amount and can have a low value, say $50. Not my idea of a drug dealer.
There is a phone number for you to call and an address for you to appear in Des Moines if you want to schedule an appointment to obtain the stamp. With most government offices, you can usually just show up and someone will great you with a cheerful face and help you through whatever process you need to complete. I'm not sure that you would be greeted with a cheerful face at the Iowa Department of Revenue when you show up at your appointment. The last I knew, no one had ever filled out the paperwork (didn't our legislators say we need to eliminate unnecessary laws??). I'm guessing we haven't spent much money making these stamps. It seems like it would be a good money-maker for the State of Iowa: $5 per gram of marijuana and $750 per unprocessed marijuana plant. The State also will collect $250 per gram of any other substance. Did Iowa legalize marijuana? Did Iowa legalize other drugs?
Of all the absurd criminal laws we have, this one is just plain terrible. In my opinion it is unconstitutional for a variety of reasons. The worst part is that it presumes someone in Iowa is a drug dealer without any other evidence. Usually this charge is added to many other charges for trial and the prosecutor offers to drop this felony if you plead to another charge. Most people do that unfortunately, and I'm certain that is the reason for the law- to eliminate the need for justice since justice can be so messy. If the charge is not dropped, the State can come after you to collect the money that they feel they are owed since you didn't show up in advance to fill out their forms to obtain the tax stamp.
If anyone decides to take their marijuana down to the Department of Revenue in Des Moines to get a drug tax stamp, give me a call, I'd like to come watch. One thing on my life's list of things to do is to see something that has never been done before. And then I might have lunch with my legislator.
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