Pubdate: Thu, 02 Dec 2010
Source: Daily Iowan, The (IA Edu)
Copyright: 2010 The Daily Iowan


For all of those hopeful, keep dreaming. Obtaining a written
prescription for medical marijuana in Iowa likely won't happen anytime
soon, according to one state legislator.

While the Iowa Board of Pharmacy recently took its final step, drawing
up legislation for the Iowa Legislature to consider when it reconvenes
in January, Rep. Dave Jacoby, D-Coralville, told the Editorial Board
"the bill has no chance this year." Jacoby said he doesn't expect it
to even get out of subcommittee.

The Editorial Board has consistently backed legalizing medical
marijuana in the past, and we stand by that position. While Jacoby's
comments aren't good for medical-marijuana advocates such as us, it
doesn't deter us from restating our support. Iowa should join 15 other
states and allow patients to receive marijuana for medicinal uses.

This past summer, there was confusion between the Iowa Board of
Pharmacy and the Legislature over which had the authority to
reschedule medical marijuana. With that dispute effectively over, the
ball is now in Iowa lawmakers' court.

Jacoby said that for the Legislature to approve a rescheduling,
however, it needs to be OK'd by health-care professionals, the general
public, and law enforcement. "You need those three," Jacoby said.
"Without all three of those, it just isn't going far." In addition,
Republicans now control the House -- a hardly propitious switch for
medical-marijuana advocates.

Despite the apparent roadblocks, we still support legalizing medical
marijuana, however. Opponents need only look at the facts.

Ronald Herman, a University of Iowa clinical professor and director of
the Iowa Drug Information Network at the UI College of Pharmacy, said
marijuana has legitimate medicinal uses, including relieving pain and
nausea and stimulating appetite. There are current treatments used for
each of the listed symptoms, all proving to work just as well, if not
better. But when comparing medical marijuana to a placebo, studies
have shown the marijuana works significantly better.

In addition, medical marijuana has been shown to effectively treat the
following five ailments: multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Parkinson's
disease, Tourette syndrome, and epilepsy. Still, very few studies have
been conducted, and further research is necessary. "Moving it from
schedule I to II will allow more search to be done related to its
merits," Herman said. (He wouldn't comment on whether he favored
rescheduling the substance.)

While there are certainly other current regiments that provide the
same medical benefits as marijuana, every patient is different.
Medical marijuana is merely another alternative. Its effects might
prove to work better on certain patients than the medicines currently

People are suffering, and the current treatments are failing to ease
their pain. It's crucial that legislators at least look into the
medical marijuana legalization issue before pre-emptively dismissing
it. They owe it to Iowans.  
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D