Pubdate: Fri, 25 Jun 2010
Source: Daily Iowan, The (IA Edu)
Copyright: 2010 The Daily Iowan


The once bright future for medical marijuana is looking  a lot hazier
after a recent dispute between the Iowa  Board of Pharmacy and the
state's legislators.

Medical marijuana in Iowa had appeared to be heading  toward
legalization, but there have been major  arguments lately on whether
it is up to the state board  or the Legislature to give the final
go-head. Each  party points to the other, and as they do so, the
prospects of obtaining a prescription for medical  marijuana seem to
be further from reach.

While the DI Editorial Board -- which has supported  legalizing
medical marijuana in the past -- waits with  the rest of Iowa, we are
rather hopeful that the state  will end the bickering and legalize the
once  frowned-upon substance, thus allowing those in dire  need to
reap the medical benefits.

However, after speaking with Sen. Tom Courtney,  D-Burlington, we are
not optimistic we will see any  development before January.

"I think you won't see this become a law for several  years, but the
only way we are going to make it a law  is to study it," Courtney said.

Initially, the Pharmacy Board (which unanimously voted  for medicinal
marijuana on Feb. 17) said it recommend  Legislature to take a look
into the medical benefits in  order to proceed toward legalization.
However, House  Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said there is no
need for a legislative committee to study the matter  because the Iowa
Code gives the Pharmacy Board the  power to set rules for medical marijuana.

Without officially taking a side on the issue, Courtney  said he
believes the Pharmacy Board is correct, saying,  "The Legislature is
the one that needs to move forward  on this issue."

The DI Editorial Board is quite skeptical whether the  dispute will
ever be settled. Courtney said the soonest  medical marijuana could
again be discussed is January,  and even then it will take time before
the logistics  are all straightened out.

Courtney said the state's biggest concern (which should  come as no
surprise) is that over time, it will be  easier for people to obtain
the drug for recreational  purposes.

"If you're going to make marijuana legal, you have to  figure out the
mechanics of it," he said.

And Courtney is certainly correct -- there are many  technicalities
that the state must research -- and that  will take some time before
we see any progress.

Courtney is a strong advocate for the drug, and he  believes many
hospitals are in favor of medical  marijuana, because it can ease the
pain and nausea for  many patients.

He says if we can alleviate people's pain, and do it in  a way that
doesn't jeopardize anybody else, we are  obligated to at least look
into it?

And many will agree with him. According to the  Compassionate
Coalition, marijuana has been proven to  be one of the safest,
therapeutically active substances  that can be used for an array of
medical purposes.

So, what once seemed like such promising progress has  apparently gone
up in smoke -- now only time will tell  if medical marijuana in Iowa
has a future. 
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