November 27, 2014

Iowa Attorney General says marijuana law can’t be the same as California

Iowa’s top law enforcement official is weighing in on the debate over medical marijuana. Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, says he might open to backing a bill approved Thursday in the Iowa Senate that would legalize the use of cannabis oil to treat chronic epilepsy. “I always talk about states being laboratories of democracy. States can experiment, do different things, and as states do that, other states can look and see and see if things work and see if they don’t work and learn lessons either way,” Miller says.

The Democrat says he’s learned an “enormous lesson” from states that have passed medical marijuana bills. “So many states where that has happened it has been done in such a way that it is quasi-legalization of marijuana,” Miller says. Supporters of the measure approved in the Senate say the oil derived from a cannabis plant cannot be smoked and doesn’t create a high. Parents who have children that suffer from severe epilepsy have been lobbying lawmakers to approve the bill which allow them, with a doctor’s recommendation, to go out of state to get “nonintoxicating cannabis oil.”

Miller, recalling a trip he took to a Santa Monica beach, said he just doesn’t want Iowa law to mirror what’s happened in California. “They have shops or clinics adjoining the beach where you could get diagnosed and get medical marijuana. It was a joke,” Miller said. “Generally, I’m very opposed to medical marijuana.” But, Miller added he may not be opposed to a measure that has “extraordinary provisions” and is “very directed at people who are in grave need.” He noted the Senate bill appears to do that.