It is safe to say that states that provide medical marijuana laws for its residents are on the pathway towards the overall decriminalization of pot. Although a law to completely legalize pot in California was recently defeated in the polls, that state still allows for medical marijuana use. As a result, their laws for possession aren’t as severe.
That’s not the case in Iowa. Without the leniency for medical exemptions, Iowa has very strict penalties attached to the possession, growing or selling of marijuana.
Unlike other states with strict laws, Iowa’s arrest record for marijuana offenses is below the national average. That means many more Iowa residents are following the laws.
Iowa Marijuana Possession Penalties
Iowa marijuana laws don’t make “amount distinctions” when it comes to possession charges. Being arrested with any amount of pot is will have you slapped with a Class A misdemeanor charge. The distinctions pertain to the number of times you’ve been arrested for the same offense.
For a first time possession conviction, you could end up in jail for six months and pay a $1,000 fine. A second time conviction bumps the jail time up to one year and the fine up to $1,500. With a third offense or more, the time behind bars can be up to two years and the penalty can be as high as $5,000.
Iowa Marijuana Growing or Selling Penalties
All of the arrests in the categories of growing or selling marijuana are considered felony offenses. Being convicted with an amount of pot less than 50 kilograms (110 pounds) could mean up to five years in jail along with paying a $7,500 fine.
For amounts of between 50 to 100 kilograms the prison time is 10 years and the fine is could be as high as $50,000. With a conviction for selling an amount of pot in the range of 100 to 1,000 kilograms could have you serving up to 25 years in jail and paying $100,000 in fines. The top level of growing or selling penalties is with any amount over 1,000 kilograms. A conviction with that weight could mean 50 years in jail and $1,000,000 fine.
There are certain special circumstances with regard to penalties for selling or growing marijuana in Iowa. If you are convicted of selling pot to a minor, you’ll face a mandatory minimum of five years jail up to 25 years. If you are found to have sold pot within 1,000 feet of a school or park, that mandatory minimum sentence is increased to 10 years.
Iowa Marijuana Paraphernalia Penalties
Compared to the possession penalties, the fines and jail time for marijuana paraphernalia aren’t as harsh. If you are convicted in possession of or attempting to sell marijuana paraphernalia you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor and could serve just 30 days in jail and pay a $500 fine.
Driving under the influence of marijuana is treated the same way as driving under the influence of alcohol. For a first time offender, you’ll be spending at least 48 hours in jail with a possibility of up to one year behind bars. The jail time increased for any subsequent offense.