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Medical Marijuana: Iowa Pharmacy Board Recommends State Legalize It for Therapeutic Use

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #621)
Drug War Issues

The Iowa Board of Pharmacy voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend that state lawmakers reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II controlled substance and set up a task force to study how to create a medical marijuana program. Medical marijuana bills have previously failed to move in the state legislature, but the board's action could help spur forward momentum.

Carl Olsen
Similarly to the federal Controlled Substances Act, Iowa law currently classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug with no proven medical use and a high potential for abuse. By recommending that marijuana be rescheduled to Schedule II -- a potential for abuse, but with accepted medical use -- the board acknowledged the herb's medical efficacy.

Given the board's initial reluctance to take up the issue, the unanimous vote comes as something as a pleasant surprise to advocates. In May 2008, Iowans for Medical Marijuana founder Carl Olsen petitioned the board to reschedule marijuana, arguing that the evidence did not support its classification as Schedule I.

The board rejected that request, and Olsen, three plaintiffs, and the ACLU of Iowa sued to force it to reconsider. (See the filings in the case here). Last year, a Polk County judge ordered the board to take another look at the matter. The board again declined to reclassify marijuana, but did agree to a series of four public hearings.

It was after those hearings, which were packed with medical marijuana supporters, and after a scientific review of the literature, that the board acted this week. In doing so, it becomes the first state pharmacy board in the nation to take such a step before voters or lawmakers have legalized medical marijuana.

The board's action also puts it squarely in line with popular sentiment in the Hawkeye State. According to an Iowa Poll released Tuesday, 64% of Iowans want medical marijuana to be legal. Now, if only the legislature will act on the recommendation of the board and the will of the voters.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Jeff Brown (not verified)

Carl used the existing system to get the results. Most states have a way to Petition the Board of Pharmacy or in the case of Florida the State Attorney General to remove marijuana from Schedule I. Most states follow the federal scheduling criteria saying that to be in Schedule I the substance has no medical use. The fact that 14 states now allow medical use makes it clear that marijuana does have medical use in the United States and does not belong in schedule I. Little by little the wall of cannabis prohibition is coming down. Thanks Carl

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 12:12pm Permalink
Jack (not verified)

In reply to by Jeff Brown (not verified)

I believe that this bill should be passed. The current laws are far and beyond out of date. These laws were passed so many years ago no one really remembers why it is illegal. There is so much debate without knowledge of the reasons to keep it illegal. Iowa and all states could benefit from this. Why can it be allowed in one state, and a person from another is sent to prison and all personal belongings be confiscated. California is setting the example. Let us all learn and be educated by this. Money spent by the "war on drugs" is a farce. Money as well as time and resources could be put to more necessary demands by the law enforcement. Hard drugs, child abuse, illegal immigration, the list goes on and on. Millions of dollars could be reallocated to higher demands. Please Iowa and all of America. The time has come to take this to the next step. Pass the bill, make it a law. Personal possession, production, and use. All in a controlled manner. Thank you. JC

Fri, 04/02/2010 - 11:04am Permalink
Carmen L. Brown (not verified)

Drug prohibitionists have some really good armor, but it's not perfect. Thanks Carl for finding this chink in the armor. Maybe other states can follow this path?

Great work!

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 7:28pm Permalink
DOUGLAS SWANSON (not verified)

THE LAST POST WAS 2008 WHAT IS CURRENT STATUS ? I AM tranfering from farmingtojn ,NM I will have my medical marijuana card from New Mexico  . I have many medical probllembs. I`ve had 4 back surgeries, the firts complicated by staph infection, the last on was spinal fusion at L5 - S1 physical therapy in 2000 by Dr. Maurin and have had no problems with back over the past 10 years. july date 5-18-10 after 2 weeeks of therap[y seem to be showing remarkable improvement. Then i was sent with a driver to help him drive. the water trucks have air ride seate on drivers side only. I was told that he had long 4th f-4th of july weekend. Employee lied and neglected to tell me that he did not have his drivers licence. when got off main road he said he was ok to drive., 80 % OF Route is on oil feild and back dirt road. passengerside is just solid seat with a cussion This seat cannot be adjusted in any way. The bumpy road did worsen my back around my hardware. A am curfrently on workkmamns comp. Complications include limited stanting,sitting ,twistising or lifting over 5#.

In 2006 i developed avascular necrosis of both TMJ joints. 2007 july had joint replacemnt. In december i started rejecting the jojnt. I was alergic to the coblaltcromium well as other metals in the implants. Had severe rejection with defomrmaties. Juy 2008 joints had to be replaced with titanium seem to tolerate these much better. However the second surgery left me with extensive nerve damage to upper left quadrant of my face .  I have trijeminal neualga. This coupled with the neualgia in my back. My back has left me unable  to work. I am currently on workmanscomp. Bottom line is who do i go see once i get to Iowa to start paperwork o my medical marijuajna card.


In the past we have tried it all neuontin, lyrica, tegretol ans wll as many other medication that to dont work and the list goes on. Not to mention i have a severe allergic addictive reaction to lortab and other opiate type meds as well as vallium. Medicinal cannabis is no addictive to me at all.

Sat, 07/31/2010 - 8:33am Permalink

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