Iowans caught with the products would be guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor under provisions inserted into a budget bill Senator Tom Hancock has been working on.
“We wanted this stuff off the shelves,” Hancock says. “We wanted to get rid of it.”
So far this year the House and the Senate have voted to ban these products, but the sticking point has been the penalty. The House had favored a felony, while the Senate’s voted to make it a misdemeanor to possess synthetic marijuana sold as incense or bath salts.
“To make it a class D felony for a first offense we felt was a little strong,” Hancock says.
Senator Hancock says under the language inserted in a budget bill, a first offense would be an aggravated misdemeanor, but those caught more than once either buying, manufacturing or possessing synethetic marijuna would face tougher penalties.