Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, says he has been following the debate over legalizing medical marijuana in the state. “My position has always been that it should be driven by the needs of patients and the determination of whether it’s safe and effective for them to use to reduce their pain,” Braley says. “I think this is going to be a continuing conversation that Iowans are going to have, and I think it’s an important one.”
Colorado has legalized recreational use of marijuana along with medicinal use. Braley says the recreational use of marijuana would have to be something state lawmakers decide after hearing from Iowans. “For me, the much more important issue is whether people who have chronic pain, and serious debilitating diseases are in need of access to something in the form of medical marijuana when other pain medications are not effective for them,” according to Braley. “And there’s been a lot of news coverage about families — including children — who are using this in the medicinal form, because it is the only thing that they can tolerate to address their severe chronic pain.”
Braley is running for the U.S. Senate. He was asked about the federal government’s decision to not stop the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado, even though it is a controlled drug. “It think it’s a lot more complicated than that. I mean, it gets down to that whole relationship between the federal government and states’ abilities to decide what kind of laws apply to the public welfare of their citizens,” Braley says.
Braley says the decision to not enforce the drug laws in the case of marijuana is something the Obama Administration made based on the situation and would not cover every case. “I think that’s a decision that would have to be made on an ongoing basis. I think that most American citizens expect federal laws to be enforced. When they come into conflict with state laws, then the state and federal government have to come to some sort of reasonable accommodation with the Constitution, and I think that’s what’s happening now,” Braley says.
Editor’s Note: The headline on this story indicating that Congressman Braley supports medical marijuana use has been changed. A spokesman for Congressman Braley says while he supports the discussion of medical marijuana use, he says not taken a stand in favor of the use of medical marijuana.