Medicinal Marijuana Issue in Iowa Hits Roadblock
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Medicinal Marijuana Issue in Iowa Hits Roadblock
Posted by CN Staff on June 20, 2010 at 08:26:13 PT
By Michael J. Crumb, Associated Press Writer
Source: Associated Press
Des Moines, Iowa -- The future of medical marijuana in Iowa is uncertain after a legislative leader and the state's pharmacy board said it is up to the other to move forward on the issue.The pharmacy board voted unanimously in February to recommend that marijuana be allowed in Iowa for medicinal use. In its recommendation, the board also asked the Legislature to create a study committee to look at how the use of medical marijuana could be implemented.
Now, both sides have decided they've done all they can do, leaving it up to other to take the next step.House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, D-Des Moines, said that after the board's recommendation he discovered what apparently was a long-forgotten law on the Iowa books that allowed the pharmacy board to authorize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes."We were operating under the paradigm that it was against the law because of a statute," McCarthy said.McCarthy said no study is needed and that because of the existing law the pharmacy board has the authority to treat marijuana like any other schedule II drug that requires a prescription."No change is needed," McCarthy said.Lloyd Jessen, the board's executive director, disputes the idea that lawmakers don't need to act."They want us to do what they need to do and that's to implement a program and we don't have the authority to do that," Jessen said. "It's not a simple issue."Jessen said the board cannot establish a distribution system for medical marijuana, create a list of medical conditions that marijuana could be prescribed for, set criminal penalties for violating the law, or put in place a quality control system without legislative action."The Legislature needs to understand we are limited," he said. "We are here to regulate pharmacies and pharmacists. These are all things the board can't do by making a rule for this. This requires legislation that is signed by the governor."Jessen accused the Legislature of trying to sidestep the issue and leave tough questions to a regulatory agency.Medical marijuana is legal in 14 states plus the District of Columbia. Nine of them legalized medical marijuana in public votes, and five others were legalized by legislative action, said Mike Meno, spokesman for the Washington D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which works to increase public support for marijuana policy reform."There are 15 models around the country that show how to implement a law and they don't need to reinvent the wheel here," Meno said.Polls have indicated support in Iowa for legalizing marijuana for medicinal use. The latest, by KCCI-TV earlier this month, showed 62 percent support for medical marijuana.McCarthy insists the pharmacy board has the authority to implement a program."What they have asked us to do is already law," he said. "It should work like any other scheduled drug. We don't micromanage that -- what the distribution stream is or how doctors prescribe it."Jessen disagreed and said a lot has changed since the law was passed in the mid-1970s."This is a broad society issue that needs input from everybody involved, including law enforcement and the medical community," he said.Jessen also questioned why the governor-appointed board would take action that is in opposition to what the governor supports."The governor's own office of drug control policy is on record opposing medicinal marijuana," he said. "Why would the board implement a policy that is in direct conflict with the governor?"Carl Olsen, a proponent of medicinal marijuana who spearheaded the petition drive that led to the pharmacy board's recommendation to legalize medical marijuana, said people who could benefit from the drug are suffering while officials bicker."What we have is a law that everybody claims they don't understand," Olsen said. "Then they expect people to be arrested and go to prison for using medicine while they argue about what it means."Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Michael J. Crumb, Associated Press WriterPublished: June 20, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Associated PressCannabisNews Medical Marijuana  Archives
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Comment #7 posted by paulpeterson on June 24, 2010 at 12:45:11 PT
Thanks for noticing-like that hapless ass in a cartoon which lampooned the alter ego of one Ben Franklin, who lived under Sanders (Poor Richard Sanders, that is), the ass named "Eyeor" or something like that, and yes, the bear is named Winnie that Pooh.Put otherwise, once a man named William James said "Truth happens to an idea-it becomes true by the passage of events", and which, in turn, was the source of that well-cited bumper sticker of the 60's, ie: "Shit happens", and Carl and a few good friends in these parts are the shit that is happening to this idea, or the truth, elsewise, wherewith, and shit is happening elsewhere, also, eh?
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on June 21, 2010 at 15:48:33 PT
Progress? Indeed you are.Huzzah! Huzzah!
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Comment #5 posted by paulpeterson on June 21, 2010 at 13:23:00 PT
I told Jessen in 2006 HE COULD DO A PROGRAM
He has known for years he already has the regulatory ability to do a program-since 2006, at least.Well, right now, he has heard from the house majority leader what they want him to do-DO A PROGRAM under current law and regulations, to avoid SPENDING LEGISLATIVE BUCKS for a research plan.NOW, THE PHARMACY BOARD MUST EITHER ACT, OR RESIGN EN MASSE, for failure to do their jobs.Good work, Carl Olsen, for getting the ball bounced around this far, and getting Kevin McCarthy to punt back to these pharmacy folks, just so.Also, getting the National Board of Pharmacy Review to take up the game, AT TWO NATIONAL MEETINGS THIS FAR, has already borne fruit-WITH OREGON RESCHEDULING JUST NOW.Carl, your tenacity is appreciated here. We first spoke about Iowa having MM in both Schedule 1 & 2, in 2003 or so, and your approach has now given us the "first fruits", and also an unremitting stream of positive publicity (and all publicity is positive in this genre, right?)Good work, go back to court, and force the issue to remain in the forefront, where we have wanted it to be for years now.Illinois will probably have to wait for the lame duck session right after the election, since we are still about 7 votes short in the house there (after the senate voting the bill last May, that is).I'll bounce these boys around in the press a bit, God willing (from up here in sleepy Storm Lake, Iowa).Keep up the good work, we are making progress, no?PAUL PETERSON 712-732-1009 (NEW PHONE)
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Comment #4 posted by RevRayGreen on June 20, 2010 at 18:51:19 PT
Try and try as they may
there a good # of Iowans using a closet. Speaking of closets, people are now coming out of their cannabis closet as a result.
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Comment #3 posted by Brandon Perera on June 20, 2010 at 18:26:03 PT:
Farming State
There trying hard to keep the crop from being mass produced near or in farming states.
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Comment #2 posted by RevRayGreen on June 20, 2010 at 13:15:47 PT
I swear it is one big game of
politcal dodgeball in Iowa.....
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Comment #1 posted by Cheebs1 on June 20, 2010 at 09:26:35 PT:
Another perfect example of sycophantic boot licking."Why would the board implement a policy that is in direct conflict with the governor?"I would think they might conflict with the governor's opinion because the law says medical cannabis is already legal and only waiting on the action on the pharmacy board. The board can be the heroes of, potentially, tens of thousands of patients. These people need to develope a spine and not fear legal consequences because according to their own state law there would not be any.One man's opinion should not color the decision to help people that are in pain and suffering.
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