Panel Will Study Medical Marijuana
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Panel Will Study Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on February 24, 2010 at 05:52:23 PT
By Tony Leys
Source: Des Moines Register
Iowa -- Iowa legislators plan to keep the medical marijuana issue moving forward, a leading lawmaker said Tuesday.House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the Legislature intends to set up a committee of experts to consider how marijuana could safely be allowed for patients with legitimate medical needs. If that committee comes up with a workable plan, he said, legislators will give the matter serious discussion in their 2011 session.
Last week, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy unanimously recommended legislators reclassify the drug in a way that could make it legal for medical purposes. The board also recommended the state set up an expert task force, including patients, health care professionals, state regulators and law enforcement representatives, to design a system.McCarthy, D-Des Moines, called the pharmacy board's recommendation "a game-changer." He said the board's recommendation means the issue deserves in-depth consideration.McCarthy said any move to legalize medical marijuana would need bipartisan support. Democrats would not be willing to do it on their own, he said, even though they control both houses of the Legislature.Fourteen states have legalized medical marijuana, with reports of abuse in some states.Two medical marijuana bills died without debate in the Iowa Legislature this session. McCarthy said Tuesday that legislators would not delve deeply into the issue this year. "For a whole bunch of reasons, it's probably a heavy lift with just about five weeks left in the session," he said.Supporters of medical marijuana say it can provide relief for pain, nausea and other symptoms of diseases such as cancer and AIDS. Detractors see the campaign as a backdoor way to make marijuana easier to obtain for people wanting to get high.An Iowa Poll published in The Des Moines Register this month showed that 64 percent of Iowans support allowing patients to use marijuana if their doctors approve. Only 28 percent support legalizing the drug for recreational use, the poll found.House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, said Tuesday that he would have no objection to setting up an interim commission on the idea. He said he's no fan of legalizing marijuana, but if medical leaders say the drug could be useful, legislators should listen.The pharmacy board's recommendation "leads me to take this with a level of seriousness," he said of the issue. But he added the Legislature needs to focus on the economy and jobs. "I don't see how this fits into that," he said.A spokesman for Gov. Chet Culver, a Democrat, expressed continuing skepticism about the idea. "This isn't on the governor's agenda," the spokesman said in an e-mail. "However, his position has not changed. He will not support legalizing medical marijuana in Iowa."Sen. Joe Bolkcom, an Iowa City Democrat who is one of the idea's main legislative proponents, hailed word of the likely medical marijuana commission. "I think it's an appropriate way to take time to study the issue," he said, adding that there's no guarantee the panel's work would lead to a legislative debate.Pharmacy board Chairman Vernon Benjamin said Tuesday that he was glad to hear lawmakers had taken up the suggestion.He said the panel should take a hard look at what's happened in states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Some, including California and Colorado, implemented relatively open systems, which led to complaints of abuses. Others, including New Mexico, have tighter systems. If some states have ideas that work, "it'd be senseless for us to reinvent the wheel," said Benjamin, a Fort Madison pharmacist.The pharmacy board held public hearings and made its recommendations after a judge ordered it last year to consider the issue. The judge's ruling came in a lawsuit that claims the state illegally classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning it is banned for virtually any purpose.Carl Olsen of Des Moines, a pro-marijuana activist who helped press the lawsuit, said he plans to continue pushing the legal matter before the Iowa Supreme Court.Olsen said he was pleased that legislators plan to put the issue before a new commission. "But I intend to continue to carry this big stick," he said of the lawsuit.The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, which helped file the lawsuit, said last week that it probably would drop out of the legal fight in light of the pharmacy board's decision.Source: Des Moines Register (IA)Author: Tony LeysPublished: February 24, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Des Moines RegisterContact: cdavis dmreg.comWebsite: http://desmoinesregister.comURL: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #7 posted by GeoChemist on February 25, 2010 at 03:55:04 PT
Panel will study "marijuana"?
More feet dragging I see, how many more studies do these dullards need? 
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Comment #6 posted by compassionate on February 24, 2010 at 19:35:22 PT
Who me?
Stall/Pass the Buck/Who me? tactics are what politicians without conviction do, unless we voters make our voices heard.Too often, our legislators only receive input from organized political pundits bent on protecting the status quo: Big money Drug manufacturers.I stopped being afraid to let my one small voice be part of the discussion. I encourage you to contact your State Representative and Congress Person. They can't know our opinion, if we don't let them know.We can win this fight for our right. Please stand up.Thanks for your help, everyone.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on February 24, 2010 at 08:40:07 PT
It is stalling tactics. That's what they do when they don't want to deal with something.
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Comment #4 posted by dongenero on February 24, 2010 at 08:22:04 PT
as studious as they seem to be...........
you would think the prohibitionists would possess vast amounts of information about already existing cannabis research and findings.Maybe the idea of "study" is a new concept to them. They've turned over a new leaf and are really interested in the science now. It couldn't possibly be a stalling tactic....Conservatives response to every issue under the sun these days. They've turned over a new leaf, we need to study, we need to start at square one and review, we need to scrap what has been done and take a fresh look. No, nothing to do with stalling tactics.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 24, 2010 at 08:08:23 PT
I believe that any state that is a strong Republican leaning state will be the last states for opening their mind to medical marijuana.
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Comment #2 posted by Graehstone on February 24, 2010 at 07:46:17 PT:
Last to fall 
Everybody has to do a study first ... argh!
Anyone want to take a wild guess as to which State will be the very last to "see the light" as it were?
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on February 24, 2010 at 07:19:41 PT
"with reports of abuse in some states."
Abuse of herb is impossible!Abuse of time is a crime!
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