Medical Marijuana Decision Expected In Iowa

With the Iowa Board of Pharmacy expected to rule Wednesday on the medical use of marijuana, The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll has found 64 percent of Iowans think the practice should be legalized.

Last April, a Polk County judge ordered the Pharmacy Board to at least consider whether marijuana has any acceptable medical uses. In July, the board decided to hold hearings on the issue and offer a recommendation to the legislature. Four hearings were held.

In December, the board announced it would make its decision this month. The board will meet in open session on Wednesday at 9 a.m. to deliberate “Should marijuana be rescheduled under Iowa law from Schedule I to Schedule II.” Visitors may observe the proceedings, but will not be allowed to ask questions.

The meeting will be held in the shared conference room located at RiverPoint Business Park, 400 S.W. Eighth St., Suite E, Des Moines, Iowa.
Fourteen states have decided to allow medical uses of marijuana, most recently Maine.

Carl Olsen, leader of Iowans for Medical Marijuana, said the announcement last October by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that the federal government would no longer interfere with states implementing medical marijuana laws set the wheels in motion for Iowa to become the 15th state to legalize medicinal marijuana.

During the Bush Administration, agents raided several centers that dispense marijuana in California, where state law permits its medical use.

“For the past 31 years, the Iowa Legislature has given the Iowa Board of Pharmacy the authority to make medical marijuana available by administrative rule,” Olsen said. “The Pharmacy Board has been hesitant to use its authority because of federal regulations prohibiting the medical use of marijuana.”

One person who has been highly critical of legalizing medicinal marijuana is U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. He said medical marijuana brings a “certain amount of legitimacy to an illegal drug,” and that “most of the marijuana that flows into the United States comes from the drug lords.”

Support for medical marijuana is 76 percent among Democrats, 47 percent among Republicans, and 66 percent among political independents, the poll shows.

– Article from Iowa Independent.