DES MOINES, Iowa | Medical marijuana proponents had a partial victory Tuesday when the Iowa pharmacy board rejected a petition to reclassify the drug but agreed to a series of public hearings on the issue.
A Polk County judge ordered the board in April to reconsider a petition to remove marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Iowa Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs have no safe medical use within the United States and are a high risk for abuse.
Carl Olsen, with Iowans for Medical Marijuana, filed the petition. He says marijuana no longer meets that definition because more than a dozen other states allow medical use of the drug.
The pharmacy board found accepted medical use in 12 states was not enough, and the drug would have to be used for treatment in all states for Iowa to reclassify it, executive director Lloyd Jessen said.
“It’s not like it’s been legalized in a majority of states,” he said. “It’s still a very small number.”
As part of its review, the board plans to examine current science and medical findings and listen to testimony from doctors and patients. It also will look at federal and state drug laws, including those in states that allow marijuana use for medical treatment. Four hearings will held around the state before the end of the year to gather public comment.
The board doesn’t have the power to legalize marijuana for medical use but it could suggest lawmakers move it to the Schedule II category for drugs that have accepted medical uses in the United States. Jessen said the board’s findings “would merely be a recommendation to the Legislature” on how the drug should be treated.