Bob Shreck. (screenshot from video meeting)

The Board which oversees Iowa’s medical marijuana program today denied a petition to allow the use of the dried marijuana plant known as “vaporizable flower.”

The petition request was submitted by medical marijuana provider Bud & Mary’s, which was formerly known as MedPharm. Doctor Jacqueline Stoken was one of the board members who reviewed the petition and says they had a couple of concerns.

“It didn’t bring out that there is damage that occurs to the body when you smoke or vape the THC, this includes lung and also brain damage,” she says.  Stoken says this is a particular concern for people who were still in their teenage years or younger, as their brains arestill developing.  Doctor Bob Shreck says Bud & Mary’s own petition contained two citations documenting the high incidence of smoking when flower is available and also hybrid use both vaporized and smokeable.

“The optics of a medical board approving a smokeable form are not good. There is concern about the normalization of marijuana use amongst our youth,” Shreck says. He says the board’s action on the issue wouldn’t change anything. “Our recommendation would need to go to the Board of Medicine would need to go to the Department of Health and would be in violation of current law,” Shreck says. “The best we could do would be to recommend that the legislature changed the law.”

He says there are efforts in the legislature to make such a change. Schreck says he is also concerned that the change in name from MedPharm to Bud & Mary’s has also led to a change in the company’s marketing. “I felt their website is no longer a medical website. It’s a lifestyle website. And this is very alarming statements that are made on that are alarming as well,”Shreck says.  Stoken and other board members agreed with Shreck.

Schreck says there is already a legal inhaleable form of medical marijuana. “Convenient to use, dose limited, easy to measure in titrate, which is important with the use of medical marijuana because medical marijuana doesn’t cure any disease,” he says. “It relieves the effects and side effects of several chronic illnesses and chronic adverse conditions, but only for a few hours.”

He says the cost of products are one argument used in favor of the change. “We would concede that flower would be of lower cost — there’s no doubt of that,” Shreck says, “but the other costs, the social costs, the medical costs, the adverse costs, we think far outweigh the lower costs to the individual patient.”

The Board voted unanimously to deny the petition to allow the use of “vaporizable flower.” It is the second time such a petition has been turned down.