The Iowa Board of Pharmacy has done some wonderful work over the past 16 months and Iowans for Medical Marijuana are grateful to the staff as well as each of the individual members of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.
Iowans for Medical Marijuana now ask the Iowa Board of Pharmacy to pre-file legislation for the 84th Iowa General Assembly to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Iowa Uniform Controlled Substances Act, Iowa Code § 124.204(4)(m).
Removing marijuana from Schedule I will not make it available for medical use by patients. Opium poppies and coca leaves are in Schedule II, Iowa Code §§ 124.206(c) and 124.206(d), and neither one of those plants is available for medical use by patients.
On November 10, 2009, the American Medical Association recommended removing marijuana from Schedule I, stating: “The future of cannabinoid-based medicine lies in the rapidly evolving field of botanical drug substance development, as well as the design of molecules that target various aspects of the endocannabinoid system. To the extent that rescheduling marijuana out of Schedule I will benefit this effort, such a move can be supported.”
Removing marijuana from Schedule I will not cost the state anything. Without legislation creating a program to make marijuana available for use by patients, removing marijuana from Schedule I simply recognizes marijuana’s medical value, exactly the same way Schedule II recognizes the medical value of opium poppies and coca leaves. The Iowa Legislature has not authorized the use of coca leaves and opium poppies by patients, yet no one disputes the medical value of these plants and no one is suggesting they have no medical use and should be moved to Schedule I.
It would be a mistake for the Iowa Board of Pharmacy to condition the scheduling of marijuana on the creation of a program to manufacture and distribute marijuana in Iowa, because that is a separate issue. As the American Medical Association points out, science supports removing marijuana from Schedule I because it has medical value. Current scheduling of marijuana makes it difficult to do research. If access by patients is needed, the Iowa Legislature should address that issue separately from marijuana’s current classification.
Iowans for Medical Marijuana asks the Iowa Board of Pharmacy to pre-file legislation that would remove marijuana from Schedule I and not to condition that recommendation on whether the Iowa Legislature creates a program to make marijuana available to medical patients. The classification of opium poppies and coca leaves in Schedule II is not conditional on making them available to medical patients. Marijuana should be classified the same way, without regard to whether Iowa lawmakers want to make it available to patients.
Whatever the decision of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy may be, Iowans for Medical Marijuana appreciate the work of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy. We agree with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy:
Fred T. Mahaffey Award: Iowa Board of Pharmacy The Iowa Board is also being recognized for its continuous efforts to regulate medical marijuana. After a number of public hearings, many hours spent listening to patients, doctors, pharmacists, and legislators, as well as reviewing hundreds of medical articles and other state laws, the Board moved forward in its decision to recommend that the Iowa state legislature reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II controlled substance, which would allow medical uses of marijuana.
Iowans for Medical Marijuana, P.O. Box 4091, Des Moines, IA 50333
Contact Carl Olsen 515/343-9933