Iowa Unsure What Impact to Expect from Illinois’ Legalization of Marijuana



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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Come January 1st, marijuana will officially be legal in the state of Illinois. The Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy isn’t sure yet on how this will affect Iowa. The director of the Office of Drug Control, Dale Woolery, says the state is not frowning upon the idea of Iowans purchasing marijuana in Illinois. However, it's important to remember Iowa's laws when crossing back over those state lines.

“If you're a Cubs fan and you go see a game at Wrigley Field, and you decide to engage under Illinois law. That's one thing. And I don't know that, you know, state of Iowa has much to say about that. But when you come back into the state of Iowa, that is the Iowa law that applies,” Woolery said.

According to, Iowa has one of the lowest rates of marijuana use in the country. Woolery said the hope is that this doesn’t change with marijuana being legalized in Illinois. He also stressed the importance of Iowans remembering if they get pulled over with THC in their system this can lead to an arrest and if your employer orders a drug test and it’s found in your system this can lead to termination. That’s why Woolery suggests everyone should educate themselves and the ones around them about the difference between the two states' laws. Woolery said this responsibility should fall on the states as well.

“We're counting on Illinois to educate consumers to educate the retailers. We need to educate potential consumers here. And, including those who may think they can do something legal in one state and be okay in another state,” Woolery said.

Woolery notes that Illinois legalizing marijuana will have the biggest impact on eastern Iowa, especially those who live in Illinois but work in Iowa or vice versa.

It is unclear if Iowa employers will loosen drug testing policies to give employees leeway. Woolery again said only time will tell but that’s not a far fetched idea being how much Iowa employees are needed right now.


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