The Iowa Medical Society is backing an effort to reclassify marijuana in the state to make it easier for scientists to study the drug’s potential benefits for sick people. The group represents around 4,600 physicians.

Doctor William Langley, who works at Genesis Health System in the Quad Cities, was one of the delegates to the group’s annual meeting over the weekend. He says the original resolution called for supporting the legalization of medical marijuana so doctors in Iowa could prescribe the drug.

“It was modified and narrowed a little bit to recommend that the drug be reclassified away from the category of narcotics and other illegal drugs so that more research could be done,” Langley told Radio Iowa. “It actually stops well short that it be recommended for prescription.”

Langley says delegates feel studies need to consistently show smoking marijuana is a better treatment for certain illnesses than other drugs. “Everybody felt that, although there’s lots of anecdotes about people’s nausea (being relieved) or people’s pain medicines working better if they smoked some marijuana, there’s never been any good science that’s shown that,” Langley said.

Earlier this year, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy recommended that the Iowa Legislature legalize marijuana for medical uses. Legislative leaders say they plan to set up a committee to study the issue. Fourteen states currently allow doctors to prescribe marijuana.