Category Archives: Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana

Iowa Board of Pharmacy Delays Decision on the Reclassification of Medical Marijuana

After some members expressed reservations, the Iowa Pharmacy Board decided on Wednesday to delay its decision on marijuana’s drug classification until January.

A board subcommittee initially recommended that the entire board consider reclassifying the substance from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug. The recommendation was based on marijuana’s use for medical purposes, bolstered by a new law in Iowa that made the use of CBD oil, which is derived from the marijuana plant, legal for the treatment of children with epilepsy.

An Iowa Pharmacy Board member and pharmacist from Monona, Edward Maier, read the subcommittee’s recommendation:

“While the board believes that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, in 2014 the Iowa General Assembly passed the Medical Cannabinoid Act. The act permits the use of cannanbidiol for patients suffering from intractable epilepsy. The passage of this act is an affirmative recognition by the Iowa General Assembly that there is a medical use for marijuana. Continued placement for marijuana in Schedule I is not consistent with that act,” Maier said, reading directly from the recommendation.

Maier also emphasized that even if the Iowa Pharmacy Board decided to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II substance, the decision would not necessarily mean the de facto implementation of a medical marijuana law in Iowa. The move would also necessitate legislative and regulatory action.

In the end, however, the entire board voted unanimously to delay the decision until they are scheduled to meet again the first week of January.

Iowa Board of Pharmacy to Consider the Reclassification of Medical Marijuana

The Iowa Board of Pharmacy is considering renewing its recommendation that the state reclassify marijuana in a way that would make it easier to use the substance legally for medical purposes, following a hearing in the state’s capital yesterday where patients, medical professionals, and drug-abuse prevention specialists testified about whether Iowa should relax its strict ban on the use of medical marijuana.

“We’re in a bit of a predicament,” board Chairman Edward Maier told several dozen people who gathered for the Des Moines hearing, noting that Iowa law currently classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug.

A similar proposal failed to gain traction in 2009 when the board recommended that state legislators reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, which would make the substance legal with a physician’s recommendation.

Edward Hertko, a retired Des Moines physician and longtime proponent for making marijuana legal, said opponents have falsely characterized marijuana as addictive and as a gateway to harder drugs.

“Its hazards pale when compared with alcohol and tobacco,” he told the pharmacy board. “In fact, marijuana is less deadly than sugar, which causes thousands of deaths each year from obesity and diabetes,” he said.

In addition, Lori Tassin, a cancer patient also from Des Moines, said she believes the substance can shrink tumors and provide other medical benefits.

“It should be my choice,” she told the board. “It should be between my doctor and me.”

The entire Iowa Board of Pharmacy will further discuss the issue Wednesday. Moreover, Maier, a Mapleton pharmacist, noted that the board does not have the authority to make medical marijuana legal. However, he did state that the board could advise Iowa state legislators on the issue.

State Lawmakers Reveal New Medical Marijuana Bill in Augusta, Georgia

Georgia state lawmakers revealed what the state’s new medical marijuana bill will look like after last year’s proposed bill failed.

Medical marijuana cultivation centers and immunity from prosecution for the families of patients who legally obtain it from other states and bring it back to Georgia are two elements of the new medical marijuana bill that state lawmakers will debate in January.

Rep. Allen Peake

State Rep. Allen Peake, the bill sponsor, said that Georgia’s lawmakers have learned a lot over the past year and hope to pass a better bill this year that would allow private entities to grow medical marijuana in the state.

Peake also said that the medical marijuana grown in Georgia would contain very low THC so that patients would not be able to get high from it.

“If what we’re going to do is legalize a product that is so low in THC that there’s no way to get high off of it, why not provide it as an alternative for other diagnoses — cancer, glaucoma, ALS?” Peake stated.

However, low or no THC medical marijuana laws leave most patients behind. While THC does cause the “high” associated with the substance, patients use medical marijuana for relief, not for euphoria. It has also been shown to have many medical qualities itself.

Georgia’s medical marijuana legislation should not be so restrictive as to leave behind patients who could benefit from access to a variety of medical marijuana strains with different chemical compositions.

Marijuana is Now Legal in Alaska, Oregon, South Portland, Maine, and the Nation’s Capital

Voters in two states, the fourth largest city in Maine, and the nation’s capital approved ballot measures to end marijuana prohibition and implement more sensible marijuana policies, capping off a historic election year for marijuana policy reform.

Alaska and Oregon are now the third and fourth states to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol, following Colorado and Washington. As of early this morning, Oregon’s Measure 91 led 54-46 with 75% of the votes counted. Alaska’s Ballot Measure 2 led 52-48 with 97% of the state’s precincts reporting.

Voters in South Portland, Maine approved Question 2 52-48 as well, making it the second East Coast city to make marijuana legal for adult use at the local level. A similar ballot measure in Lewiston, Maine came in close; it received 45% of the vote and did not pass.

In Washington, D.C., voters approved Initiative 71 by an overwhelming margin of 65-28, removing all penalties for the possession and home cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana by adults.

Moreover, an overwhelming majority of Florida voters — 58% — approved Amendment 2, which would have allowed patients with serious and debilitating conditions access to medical marijuana upon a physician’s recommendation. Unfortunately, the measure failed to pass because Florida state law requires 60% support for approval.

Nonetheless, yesterday’s historic election was largely successful and demonstrated that American citizens are ready to end marijuana prohibition in the country for good.

We will update the details of election results if new data becomes available.

Medical Marijuana Measure Wins in Guam

More than 56 percent of voters approved the medical marijuana measure in Guam, according to the unofficial results reported by Guam Pacific Daily News.

The medical marijuana measure — Proposal 14A — will allow patients with debilitating medical conditions to obtain the substance from regulated medical marijuana providers. With more than 56 percent of voters supporting the medical marijuana measure, the government will now be required to draft the rules and regulations for dispensing and using the substance.

This appears to be the first victory among all of the different marijuana policy ballot measures being considered today. For those looking to end marijuana prohibition and implement sensible marijuana policies within the U.S. and its territories, it looks like we are off to a good start! Please follow the example of Guam by going out to vote today. Encourage neighbors, friends, and relatives to do the same!