Governor raises age for buying tobacco, approves changes in medical cannabis law

Des Moines, Ia- Governor Kim Reynolds has taken action on a host of bills, including three that deal with marijuana, alcohol, and cigarettes.

Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson reports that when bars and restaurants were closed this spring due to the pandemic, Governor Reynolds issued a proclamation allowing the sale of carry-out cocktails in addition to take-out food. Now, Iowa has become the first state to permanently allow bars and restaurants to sell mixed drinks to go.

The governor has also signed a bill into law that changes the state’s medical-marijuana program. The new 90-day dosage maximum is four-and-a-half grams of T-H-C — the active ingredient in cannabis and physicians assistants, nurse practitioners and podiatrists may now sign the paperwork so Iowans can legally buy cannabis products at state-licensed dispensaries.  Post-traumatic stress and severe intractable autism are now on the list of conditions for which medical professionals may recommend cannabis as a treatment.

Reynolds has also signed the bill that raises the legal age for buying tobacco products from 18 to 21. It mirrors a recent federal change, lets local officials start ticketing violators, and ensures Iowa doesn’t lose $3.2 million in federal funding for substance abuse programs.

Penalties for animal abuse will be increased by another bill the governor signed. She’s also approved the creation of a “blue alert” similar to “amber alerts” for suspected of child kidnapping. A blue alert will go out statewide if someone in law enforcement has been seriously injured or killed and there’s a threat to the public from a suspect or suspects who haven’t been arrested.