How Illinois Marijuana Legalization will Affect Iowans

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker recently signed a new bill legalizing the sale and possession of marijuana starting January 1, 2020. Here is how the sale of legal marijuana in Illinois may affect Iowans.

Purchasing & Possessing Marijuana in Illinois

With the new legalization law, non-residents, including Iowans, will be able to purchase and use marijuana while in Illinois. There are, however, some restrictions that will be in place.

  • Marijuana must be purchased from licensed sellers in the state of Illinois.
  • Non-residents must use marijuana while within the state.
  • Marijuana use must be confined to private homes or┬ácannabis-related businesses only.
  • Non-residents can only buy and possess half the amount of marijuana as residents (which may possibly be a violation of the privileges and immunities clause).

Possessing Legally-Purchased Marijuana in Iowa

While the purchase and possession of marijuana may be legal in Illinois, bringing it across the border into Iowa is not. Possession of legally-purchased marijuana from Illinois still will be a crime if you bring it into and possess it in the state of Iowa, and there are the same punishments for possession and sale in Iowa as ever. Growing, selling, or merely distributing marijuana is still a felony offense in Iowa.

How Illinois Marijuana Legalization will Affect Iowans

The only real impact the new marijuana legalization law will have on Iowans will happen while they are in Illinois. As it stands currently, the selling and possession of marijuana is still illegal at both a federal level and in Iowa. Hence, you cannot legally bring into Iowa any marijuana you purchased legally in Illinois. But worse still, this law may create more problems than anything for Iowans. Here is why:


In the state of Iowa, it is illegal to drive a motorized vehicle with any detectable amount of marijuana metabolites in your system. Meaning if your blood or urine is positive for marijuana, you can still be convicted of operating while intoxicated, even if you are no longer feeling the effects of the drug. Hence, if you use marijuana in Illinois, then drive in Iowa while it is still detectable in your body, you can be arrested and charged with OWI. If you are under the influence of a drug such as marijuana, which you used legally while in Illinois, it still is illegal to drive in Iowa while under the influence of that drug.

So using marijuana legally in Illinois may only lead to criminal charges in Iowa if you bring the drug back to Iowa, or still have the drug in your system and drive in Iowa. Marijuana often can remain in your system for several weeks, a month, or more.

If you or someone you know has gotten in trouble for marijuana in Iowa, schedule a free consultation with Adam Pollack to work with an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer.

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Source: Des Moines Register