April 20 arrived last week with the requisite stoner jokes and, one assumes, related recreational activities. For decades, 420 has been shorthand for smoking marijuana, first as a time of day and then expanding to a calendar date, which is now recognized internationally.
While recreational marijuana use has been legalized or decriminalized in nine states and 30 allow it for medicinal purposes, Iowa continues to limp along behind the curve. Our state has yet to get an effective, legally enforceable medical marijuana law. The existing state law allows possession of only cannabis oil and only for epilepsy treatment. But even for that narrow purpose, it’s impossible to obtain because federal law prohibits moving it across state lines, and Iowa law prevents manufacturing or distributing it.
NORML, a national organization dedicated to reforming marijuana laws, used the occasion of April 20 to urge people to write their Congress members calling for an end to federal “prohibition.” NORML believes Americans should not be subject to arrest and prosecution for, in its words, “responsibly consuming marijuana.”