by Marty Ryan
A significant event occurred earlier last month, and the mainstream media missed it, completely.
On August 27, the Iowa Pharmacy Board met and heard a petition by Carl Olsen, a consistent advocate of medical marijuana in Iowa. Carl, a Des Moines resident, had the following statement:
My name is Carl Olsen. I would like the board to recommend the Iowa legislature remove marijuana from Schedule 1. The code sections are Iowa Code Chapter 124 Section 201 and 124.203. Under those sections the board has the authority to recommend the legislature remove marijuana from Schedule 1. I made this recommendation last year. I made this recommendation several times, this request. But, particularly last year I made this same request. At that time there were nineteen (19) states that had legalized the medical use of marijuana. As of today there are twenty-three (23). And as of this year another eleven (11) have enacted cannabis oil bills, like Iowa enacted this year, that require people to leave the state of Iowa, go to another state where they can obtain this oil, one of the states where it is authorized to produce the cannabis, and then bring it back to Iowa, which violates state and federal laws all the way through.
Removing marijuana from Schedule 1 would be an important step in a big obstacle, federal Schedule 1. The board has the authority to recommend that marijuana be removed from state Schedule 1. That would be an important first step in sending an important message to the federal government that there’s a big problem with Schedule 1 and the implementation of these state laws. We’ve got thirty-four (34) states now and last year when I was here it was only nineteen (19). So, you can see how rapidly this is moving forward. I don’t think the board can say this is not a valid concern, or that the board should not be saying, be participating in the legislative process as required by the Iowa Code.
A couple of board members asked a few questions and Carl responded:
I don’t think the legislature understands the technical nature of the five (5) schedules, and I think the board does. And I think they need the assistance of the board with that particular issue. It’s obvious they want to do something. And, it’s obvious that they’ve started to move forward. But, I don’t think they understand how important to scheduling is. Schedule 1 says no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and that is just not the case. It has accepted medical use in thirty-four (34) states. Why the federal government hasn’t moved it out of Schedule 1 I can’t say. But this board recommended it be removed from state schedule 1 in 2010. And, I think the board should continue to stand behind that and not let the legislature think that you’ve changed your mind, or that you’re not interested anymore, or … I’ve heard that comment from legislators, like, “What’s happened with the board of pharmacy? Why are they backing out on this?” So, I think there’s real damage there.
After discussion by the members of the board, the following motion was considered: It’s been moved and seconded to form a committee to review the petition on agency action for marijuana scheduling with a, to bring it back at our November meeting. All of those in favor say aye.
The motion passed unanimously. The significance of this action is monstrous. It appears as though the Iowa Pharmacy Board is going to recommend that marijuana be removed from Schedule I. In short, Schedule I contains a list of drugs that have no medical value.
For those of you who don’t know that fifteen minutes could save you as much as fifteen percent, here’s another piece of information that most everyone else knows: About half of the states have allowed for the medical use of marijuana or hemp in some manner.
Keep talking to your legislators about this issue. 81% of Iowans are in favor of medical marijuana. What could possibly prevent a good lawmaker from seeing that the time has come to put a lid on the “dangerous drug” stigma that has followed marijuana since the 1930s?