Can I buy marijuana in Illinois and bring it back to Iowa?

Over the past decade, there have been major changes in laws regarding marijuana sales and use. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize marijuana for non-medical purposes. As of 2022, 19 states have legalized the sale and use of recreational cannabis.

In Iowa, marijuana is still illegal. With legal cannabis retailers now located in various states, including Illinois, it is possible to obtain the drug legally, but if you bring it home to Iowa, you may face criminal charges.

Possessing marijuana in Iowa violates state law

In Iowa, medical cannabidiol products are legal, including those containing THC. However, you must be a registered patient or caregiver to legally possess these products. Legal CBD and THC products for medicinal use include inhalers, oral capsules and tinctures, topical ointments and suppositories.

It is illegal to possess loose leaf marijuana, joints or edibles in Iowa, regardless of medical status. Possession is a misdemeanor and a first offense is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Transporting marijuana across state lines violates federal law

Despite being legal in many states, marijuana remains illegal on a federal level. By bringing marijuana into Iowa from another state, you are not only violating Iowa law; you are also violating federal law.

In fact, purchasing marijuana in one state and transporting it to another is against federal law even when cannabis is legal in the state you are traveling to. Once you cross state lines with it, it falls under federal jurisdiction.

With the laws and cultural perspectives around marijuana evolving rapidly, it is easy to forget that it is still illegal in many states. It is a misdemeanor to possess marijuana in Iowa, even if you obtained it legally elsewhere.