The first in a series of public hearings to examine the pros and cons of legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes is scheduled today in Des Moines. Lloyd Jessen, executive secretary and director of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, says there are some ground rules for the hearings.
"We want people to understand that this won’t be a debate, this is just an opportunity for people to bring us their comments," Jessen said. "We may have questions for people as they talk to us, but we really aren’t there to debate anything."
In addition, any testimony should be limited to medical use of marijuana. "We’re getting comments from a lot of people who would also like to see (marijuana) legalized and that’s not what the purpose of this series of hearings is for, so we just want people to understand that we will be limiting it in that way," Jessen said.
Today’s public hearing runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Iowa State Historical Building, located at 600 East Locust Street in Des Moines. The three remaining public hearings will take place between September and November. Those events are scheduled for September 2 in Mason City, October 7 in Iowa City and November 4 in Council Bluffs. More details are available on the Iowa Board of Pharmacy’s website.
Jessen says information from the public hearings will be used to compile a report and issue a recommendation to the Iowa Legislature before the 2010 session. A bill to legalize the medical use of marijuana failed to advance at the statehouse last session. Thirteen U.S. states have made medical marijuana legal.