A handful of people testified Wednesday in Mason City at the second hearing of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy on legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. One man who only identified himself as “Jesse” who says he’s been using a number of different drugs through the last eight years to deal with a hip injury. Jesse says he’d like the opportunity to be able to try medical marijuana.

Jesse says he doesn’t trust the F.D.A. and says marijuana is a natural plant that God put on the planet. He says he treats his problems now with natural herbs and oils just so he can walk. Jesse says he thinks medical marijuana could help a number of people who are suffering with pain.

Jesse for people who have cancer, one of the biggest problems is that they stop eating, and he says marijuana helps control their nausea so they can eat. He says it also helps with glaucoma and other illnesses. Another person who testified was 20-year-old “Jay” who says he suffered a major spinal injury and was turned on to marijuana by a friend who said it would help him with his difficulties of back pain and eating.

Jay says after he smoked marijuana he quickly “got the munchies” and ate a full hamburger and plate of fries and could not feel the pain. He says before that he could barely get out of bed, but on a night when he smoked marijuana before going to bed, he got up and had a “wonderful morning.” Jay hopes legislators will take a serious look at legalizing medical marijuana.

Jay says for the medical reasons alone it can be regulated right to take care of people and he says there are plenty of stories of how it helps people. There are two more public hearings scheduled and then the Pharmacy Board will 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 year.

Story by Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City