Possession with the Intent to Deliver Marijuana in Iowa

Under Iowa, possession with intent to deliver marijuana is a felony. Iowa Code Section 124.401 addresses possession with the intent to deliver the controlled substance of marijuana.

Most possession with intent to deliver cases in Iowa involving marijuana are Class D felony charges, as possession of any amount of marijuana under 50 kg (about 110 lbs) is charged as a Class D felony.  The maximum penalty is 5 years in prison for a conviction, although possession with intent to deliver marijuana convictions in Iowa can also result in a deferred judgment or a suspended prison sentence and probation.

However, penalties are increased in cases where the marijuana is delivered to a juvenile.  For example, a person who delivers marijuana to a minor child faces a Class B felony charge, which is punishable by a 25 year term in prison.

Regarding the “intent to deliver” element of the crime, the state has the burden of proving that a person intended to convey the marijuana to someone else, rather than to use it personally. Often the prosecution will hope to use evidence of quantity, digital scales, packing materials, or controlled buys of marijuana, to show that intent to deliver. Many possession with intent to deliver cases in Iowa center upon that issue, and it is a defense to the possession with intent to deliver charge to be able to show that the marijuana was for personal use. Since Iowa has misdemeanor charges for possession of small amounts of marijuana, it is sometimes possible for a serious felony case to become a misdemeanor case through that route.

In Iowa, for a person to be in “possession” of marijuana the state does not have to prove that the person actually personally possessed the marijuana. Instead, if the state can prove that a person was having someone else possess it for them, or otherwise had dominion and control over the marijuana, it can be enough for the state to obtain a conviction. An common example is situations where the state claims that a person had another person (often a juvenile) hold the marijuana for them as it was being stored or delivered.

See also  Federal Drug (Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroine, and Methamphetamine) Charges

Possession with the intent to deliver marijuana in Iowa is a serious charge that can result in a prison sentence that lasts many decades. A person who faces such a charge should promptly consult with an attorney as properly handling the case is of the highest importance.