It's past time for Iowa to legalize marijuana, and we must center equity and racial justice as we move toward legalization.
For decades, the war on marijuana has generated some of the justice system’s starkest racial disparities. A Black person in Iowa is 7.3 times more likely to be arrested than a white person for marijuana possession. This happens even though both groups use marijuana at about the same rate, a 2020 ACLU study of law enforcement data found.
Enforcement of marijuana laws is also a colossal waste of resources. Millions of dollars are spent and police devote thousands of hours to it. Instead we should help thousands of people obtain the medicine they need and keep people who pose no danger to public safety out of the criminal justice system.