Tuesday May 21, 2013
Iowa Board of Pharmacy Recommends Making Marijuana a Schedule II DrugSalem-News.com
State board votes 6-0 in favor of reclassifying marijuana for medical use and establishing a legislative task force to implement the change.
(DES MOINES, Iowa) - Today, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy voted 6-0 to recommend to state lawmakers that marijuana be reclassified as a Schedule II drug and that a state task force be established to study how a medical marijuana law could be implemented in Iowa. Marijuana is currently classified on the federal level as a Schedule I drug, alongside much more harmful substances such as heroin and LSD, as having no proven medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule II drugs have accepted medical uses for treatment.
The recommendation comes after the board held four hearings last year to receive public input on the issue. Dozens of doctors, patients, researchers, and advocates testified before the board, and nearly all comments were supportive of medical marijuana. The Iowa House and Senate are each considering bills that would protect from arrest chronically ill patients who use marijuana to alleviate their conditions, though the bills missed the funnel deadline and will not be enacted this year.
“This vote sends a clear message to Iowa lawmakers that they should, as soon as possible, pass legislation that would give chronically ill patients who could benefit from medical marijuana safe and legal access to their medicine,” said Noah Mamber, a legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project, who testified during the Board’s hearings last year. “The recognition of marijuana as medicine in Iowa is a huge step. But for patients’ lives to improve, the legislature must also provide protections from arrest, as 14 other states have already done.”
“This is a great step forward for seriously ill Iowans who can benefit from medical marijuana,” said state Sen. Tom Courtney (D-Burlington). “Several years ago, my wife passed away from cancer. Marinol pills gave her some relief, but it would have been so much better if she had had legal access to marijuana.”
A Des Moines Register poll released yesterday found that 64% of Iowans support patients’ use of medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. Fourteen other states, including most recently New Jersey and Michigan, have passed medical marijuana laws, and nearly a dozen others, including Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, are considering such legislation. In Iowa, the legislature is considering S.F. 293, sponsored by Sen. Joe Bolkcom, and H.F. 2179, sponsored by Rep. Mary Mascher.
Source: The Marijuana Policy Project, the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.
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