Iowa legislators pursue legalizing medical marijuana

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After Colorado and Washington voters approved legalizing small amounts of marijuana for recreational use, Iowa leaders are considering bills that would decriminalize medical marijuana.

State Rep. Bruce Hunter, a Democrat from Des Moines, said he will pursue a bill that would decriminalize marijuana in Iowa.  He told the Des Moines Register he doesn’t have much hope for getting the bill passed, though.   He introduced a medical marijuana bill earlier this year, and plans to reintroduce it in 2013.

State Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, is also seeking co-sponsors for his second try to introduce a bill to legalize medical marijuana. 

Medical marijuana is legal in 18 states and Washington, D.C. 

Governor Terry Branstad has promised to veto any bills that seek to legalize marijuana for any use in Iowa.

In Iowa, possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor with a mandatory sentence of up to $1,000 in fines and/or a minimum of six months in jail.