The Iowa House voted overwhelmingly Monday to require notification of the legislature before state supported universities undertake studies involving illegal activity. Representative Jody Tymeson, a Republican from Winterset, offered the mandate after learning of the University of Iowa researchers were looking for subjects who smoke marijuana to study the impact of the long-term use of the illegal drug on brain function.
Tymeson says,”I was a little shocked and surprised, needless to say, that we were actually recruiting people for a study at one of our institutions to do something that is illegal in Iowa. At I thought it was illegal in Iowa, last I checked, it was illegal in Iowa to smoke marijuana.”
Clel Baudler, a Republican from Greenfield, said he was astonished to learn that lawbreakers were being solicited for research. “If we’re going to have a two-million dollar study in this state on an illegal activity, I think the voters are going to look at us and think ‘what are we really doing down here?,'” Baulder said.
Subjects who agree to participate will be paid as much as 600 dollars and their identity will be protected. Cindy Winckler, a Democrat from Davenport, initially defended the study. Winclker says it’s always interesting to read about what some of the institutions are doing. “With this particular institution the National Institute of Drug Abuse has a mission to lead the nation in bringing the power of science to bare on drug abuse and addiction.”
Winckler says the auditor regularly audits the books and would identify any funding that is not appropriate. Winckler first urged the House to vote down the proposed mandate, but in the end she and dozens of other Democrats voted for requiring the legislative notification after it became clear the measure was going to pass.
The U-I study is paid for by the National Institutes of Health. The mandate to inform the legislature was part of an education appropriations bill which passed the House last night.