It’s illegal to smoke marijuana for medical reasons in Iowa, but a proposal in the legislature would put up another hurdle to the idea.
A three-member subcommittee has signed off on the legislation, which removes any possibility that the state’s Board of Pharmacy could let Iowa pharmacies start dispensing marijuana for the treatment of pain and other maladies. Dale Woolery of the Governor’s Office on Drug Control Policy says the move sends the right message.
“I certainly am compassionate when it comes to people who are suffering. I have people in my family who suffer from a variety of ailments,” Woolery says. “But I also have kids and I have grandkids now, two grandkids, and I have to look them in the eye.”
Critics like Marty Ryan of the Justice Reform Coalition say the bill is redundant.
“This is pretty much a do nothing bill as far as we’re concerned,” Ryan says. “It’s really not going do anything except prevent the research that could be done on marijuana.”
The Iowa Board of Pharmacy has debated the issue of medical marijuana for the past few years and some senators have publicly said they support the idea of letting doctors prescribe marijuana if they believe it would be better for their patients than pills. A member of the Iowa House, however, is pushing for this bill that would set up another roadblock to medical marijuana.
Representative Clel Baudler of Greenfield went to California on what he called a “fact-finding” mission last year. He claimed to be suffering from hemorrhoids and was issued a prescription for marijuana, which Baudler says he got to illustrate how “asinine” the system is. Advocates of medical marijuana filed an ethics complaint against Baudler over that episode, but the complaint was dismissed.