If approved into law, the proposal would reduce the penalty for the possession of up to 5 grams of cannabis to a simple misdemeanor with a maximum jail sentence of 30 days, down from a serious misdemeanor which can result in a 6 month jail sentence.
“I think you have members of both parties right now willing to look at some of our criminal sentences and make some common sense reforms to help control some of the costs in the system,” says Senator Jack Whitver.
Senator Kevin Kinney, a former lieutenant for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, was the sole member of the committee to vote against the measure.
[Editor’s Note, 2/12/2015: This article was updated to reflect that the Iowa Senate Committee, not the Illinois Senate Committee, voted to approve Senate Study Bill 1121. We apologize sincerely for the mistake.]