# Drugs



Iowa House Democrats endorse legal weed

One of these things is not like the others.

Three parts of the Iowa House Democrats’ “People over Politics” agenda will sound familiar to anyone who has followed legislative debates over the past decade. The minority party, which now holds 40 of the 100 House seats, will fight to raise wages and lower costs for essentials like housing and child care, protect reproductive freedom, and invest more resources in public schools.

The fourth part of the Democrats’ campaign platform is new: for the first time, an Iowa legislative caucus advocates legalizing adult use of marijuana.

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Welcome to Iowa, land of entrapment

Carl Olsen is the founder of Iowans for Medical Marijuana.

If you have travel plans this summer, you might want to consider a route that avoids Iowa.  Last week, the Iowa Supreme Court denied protection for an out-of-state medical marijuana patient.

William Morris covered the ruling for the Des Moines Register, and Paul Brennan wrote about it at Little Village.

After reading the 4-3 majority opinion in State v. Middlekauff, I felt something seemed amiss. 

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Cindy Axne should withdraw her racist police bill

Jaylen Cavil and Alejandro Murguia-Ortiz co-authored this commentary. Cavil is a Democratic candidate in Iowa House district 36. Murguia-Ortiz is an independent candidate in Iowa Senate district 17.

Dog whistles have been a feature of U.S. politics for decades. President Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queens,” President Bill Clinton’s “law and order” campaign, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich calling Barack Obama a “food stamps president” are all examples of racist talking points. Politicians use coded language when trying to garner support by triggering racial anxiety. 

Today’s version of the “war on crime”—a reaction to nationwide calls to defund the police and fund communities instead—is no different from the racist wars on drugs and poverty that have led to the incarceration and deaths of millions.

With the introduction of the Invest to Protect Act, U.S. Representative Cindy Axne (D, IA-03) and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley have joined forces to re-employ this dog whistle strategy.

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Introducing the Campaign for Sensible Cannabis Laws

Bradley Knott: The Campaign for Sensible Cannabis Laws is giving a Iowans a voice and showing elected officials that voters support reforming Iowa’s cannabis laws.

Cannabis reform is sweeping the country. From ruby red South Dakota and Montana to perpetually blue New York and New Jersey, majorities from across the political spectrum are voting for reform. In some states it’s a stronger medical program. In other states voters have gone all in for both medical and recreational cannabis.

In Iowa, we don’t have a choice. We don’t even have a voice.   

When Democratic State Senators Joe Bolkcom, Janet Petersen, and Sarah Trone Garriott introduced a bill to give Iowans a voice, GOP leadership told them it was D-O-A – dead on arrival. 

Sound familiar?

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Capping costs no substitute for lowering drug prices

Sue Dinsdale is the director of Iowa Citizen Action Network and leads the Health Care For America and Lower Drug Prices NOW campaigns in Iowa.

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley got it right when speaking about efforts to lower prescription costs. He acknowledged the “difficulty of passing something like this in a Republican Congress,” adding, “If we want to reduce drug prices, then we need to do it now.”

For years we’ve been hearing members of Congress promise to tackle rising drug prices without any action. Prescription drugs and the outrageous price of medicine has made reform a top issue that attracts bipartisan support. A recent national poll indicated that 91 percent of voters consider lowering drug prices a very important issue in the upcoming election, ranking it above COVID-19 worries. 

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Three Iowans among first to have sentences commuted by Biden

President Joe Biden issued three pardons on April 26 and announced commutations for 75 people convicted of nonviolent federal drug offenses.

In a written statement, Biden said he was using his clemency powers during “Second Chance Month” to pardon “three people who have demonstrated their commitment to rehabilitation and are striving every day to give back and contribute to their communities.”

I am also commuting the sentences of 75 people who are serving long sentences for non-violent drug offenses, many of whom have been serving on home confinement during the COVID-pandemic—and many of whom would have received a lower sentence if they were charged with the same offense today, thanks to the bipartisan First Step Act. 

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