The executive director of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy says the state will need more than new regulations if medical marijuana becomes legal. Lloyd Jessen says he’s sending a letter to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy expressing concerns about McCarthy’s statement that the legislature will not move forward with a study of medicinal marijuana.
McCarthy said this week a legislative study isn’t needed because the pharmacy board has the legal authority to regulate such issues. But Jessen says the pharmacy board isn’t equipped to address a host of issues medical marijuana would raise.
For instance, Jessen questions how the marijuana would be distributed. “Would patients be allowed to grow it? Would the state grow it and provide it or would the state license private vendors?” Jessen asked.
The pharmacy board in February recommended the Legislature change the classification of marijuana to pave the way for medical use. Jessen says more specific legislation is needed to make clear how medical marijuana would be produced, distributed and regulated.
“You need to bring in law enforcement people, the physician group…you need to bring in a lot of people beyond who the Board of Pharmacy has jurisdiction over,” Jessen said. “The Board of Pharmacy is limited in what it can do. It was created to regulate the practice of pharmacy.”
Jessen says other issues include who would pay for and run programs overseeing the use of the drug for medical purposes, and how to penalize people who violate the regulations. Fourteen states have legalized the use of medical marijuana.