USA: Senator from Iowa proposes to legalize recreational cannabis in the state

On Monday, Senator Joe Bolk, who represents Iowa State in the US Congress, announced to the media that soon, he intends to submit to the parliament of his native region a bill on the legalization of recreational cannabis. According to his proposal, the law completely equalizes hemp in rights with alcohol.

“It is time for our state to leave the era of the criminalization of cannabis,” the politician solemnly announced at a press conference held on Monday .

It is expected that the finished version of the bill will be presented to the Legislative Assembly and the court of the public for 2-3 weeks. In general, the project will follow the example of other regional legalization bills. In particular, hemp will be available through stores, regulated by a special bureau under the state government, which will be able to serve citizens and tourists who have reached the age of 21 years. As suggested by Bolk himself, the creation of a private cannabis market in the region will have a positive impact on the level of activity of the local economy and will open up a host of new jobs for Iowa residents.

“Judging by the example of other states that adopted the reform, I am confident that the production of hemp will be an important economic engine for the region, generating much more profit than the sale and production of alcohol,” Bolk said to the press. “The regions next door, namely Illinois and Minnesota, have already announced their plans for legalization, therefore, if we don’t want our market profits to flow to other regions, we must immediately begin to implement hemp reform plans.”

Open letter to voters:

In addition to public speaking, last Friday, Mr. Bolk issued an open letter in the state’s main newspaper, Iowa City Press-Citizen, in which he called on all Iowa citizens to support a future legalization bill.

“Despite the tireless work of the police and the prosecutor’s office, our costs of regulating and prosecuting violations related to the production, marketing and consumption of marijuana will continue to grow every year. Apart from the fact that the regional budget is losing millions of dollars, to combat such minor violations, this money is not used to improve the quality of life or education of our citizens, I am in jail for them, ” reads the text of the letter. “Therefore, I believe that the support of the full legalization and settlement of the recreational cannabis market will help us solve both the problems described: hundreds of thousands of citizens will be able to avoid arrest and unwanted convictions in a personal matter, while the illegal business will start generating for the state and society Millions of dollars in net profit, which can be applied to various social and infrastructure programs. ”

Among other things, the senator noted in a letter that often, the system of criminalization of marijuana was used by the police to deliberately and systematically discriminate against the black community in the state.

“Unfortunately, I also have to admit that the state police for many years used the system of criminalizing cannabis to harass and intimidate the communities of national minorities in our region, namely, representatives of the African American community,” he said in a letter. “For your information, a black resident of our state is almost four times more likely to be stopped by law enforcement on the street, only on suspicion that he may be a dealer or consumer of marijuana.”

The politician also mentioned in the letter what consequences a criminal record may have for even the smallest misdemeanor connected with cannabis in a citizen’s personal file. “The existing system of sanctions against cannabis violations, in fact, all these years of its existence, only divorced crime in our region, condemning a recidivist criminal convicted for a career,” the letter continues. “So why are we, honest citizens of Iowa, obliged to continue to support this system if it does not bring our region anything but expenses and social problems? I am sure that the legalization of a substance, which is several times less dangerous than a fully legal alcohol, will bring us much more benefit than the completely discredited criminalization regime. ”

Although, as the politician himself noted, the project proposed by him may face an obstacle in the face of the conservative-minded Republican majority in the parliament and the senate of the region, he is confident that more progressive-minded members of the party will join the Democrats in this issue, support reform.

“Unfortunately, without the support of representatives of the Republican Party, my project will not move beyond the first reading,” Bolk said.