Medical marijuana oil, produced in Colorado.
(Photo: Associated Press file photo)
Mar 11, 2015
The Des Moines Register - The Iowa Board of Pharmacy disappointed medical marijuana advocates again Monday.
Board members rebuffed a request that they recommend changing Iowa law’s classification of marijuana
in a way that would make it easier to use the drug for medical purposes.
The board, which regulates medication sales, said it didn’t want to get involved now. “This is clearly a political issue at this point,” said board member James Miller, a Dubuque pharmacist.
State law now classifies marijuana as both a Schedule I drug, whose use is impermissible in almost any circumstance, and as a Schedule II drug, which could be used for medical purposes in some circumstances. The pharmacy board recommended in January that legislators reclassify a special type of marijuana extract
, which has little of the chemical that makes recreational users high, but not to reclassify marijuana entirely.
Board member Susan Frey, a Villisca pharmacist, noted that legislators considered a marijuana-reclassification bill this session, but they let it die last week. “So clearly, it was not an issue the Legislature wanted to address,” she said.
After the meeting, medical marijuana activists said they were disappointed but not vanquished. Sally Gaer of West Des Moines, whose daughter has an intractable form of epilepsy,
said the rescheduling proposal could be revived as an amendment to a broader medical marijuana bill that’s still being considered at the Statehouse. She said the pharmacists making up the majority of the board are experts, whose advice should carry weight on the matter. “They know the chemistry, and yet they want to leave it to the Legislature. It just doesn’t even make sense. And the legislators say, ‘Well, we’re not doctors.’”
Activist Carl Olsen, who filed the request rejected by the board, said he’ll appeal in court, as he has in the past.
The pharmacy board voted in 2010 to recommend remove marijuana from Schedule I, but that proposal failed to sway the Legislature. Lawmakers last spring passed a limited bill that allows possession of a marijuana extract by epilepsy patients. Critics say the new law is useless, because it doesn’t provide for production or distribution of the medication.