Facebook Commandos

For those of you who use Face­book, I have pity on you.  It’s not a friendly place.  Today, peo­ple call­ing them­selves advo­cates for full legal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana in Iowa are com­plain­ing about two groups we have here in Iowa and the com­plaints are sim­i­lar toward both groups.
  1. You have a group called Iowans 4 Med­ical Cannabis advo­cat­ing for med­ical use, say­ing that it won’t lead to legal­iza­tion of non-medical use.
     
  2. You have a group called Iowa Hemp Asso­ci­a­tion advo­cat­ing for indus­trial use, say­ing it won’t lead to legal­iza­tion for non-industrial use.

This makes these so-called advo­cates angry, because they see med­ical use and indus­trial use as sub­sets of a greater whole (full legal­iza­tion).  Full legal­iza­tion would give the patients their med­i­cine and save the trees at the same time.  I won’t go into what full legal­iza­tion looks like, because I don’t really know what it looks like.  Alco­hol is not fully legal­ized.  Tobacco is not fully legal­ized.  Alco­hol and tobacco are both toxic and mar­i­juana is not, so I can’t see them as being the same.  Even cocaine and mor­phine are legal under cer­tain restric­tions.  Even metham­phet­a­mine is legal under cer­tain restric­tions.  So, I think we need to come up with some­thing unique for mar­i­juana, since mar­i­juana is safer than all of these things we already accept under cer­tain restrictions.

What dri­ves med­ical advo­cates is that they are being tor­tured by the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal indus­try.  Med­ical users are being forced to use toxic chem­i­cals instead of a safe plant.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t take what a per­son being tor­tured says as seri­ously as I take what a per­son says who has time and the abil­ity to think clearly.  These patients are being tor­tured, plain and sim­ple.  I’m not going to attack them for try­ing to save their lives and the lives of their loved ones.  Things are not okay in this coun­try, and this is a man­i­fes­ta­tion of it.  Give the patients a break.  They need our help, not a bunch of cheap talk.

What dri­ves indus­trial advo­cates is entre­pre­neur­ship.  This is a fun­da­men­tal value in our soci­ety, mak­ing money.  We can’t expect cap­i­tal­ism to go away.  And, besides, hemp is a good prod­uct.  You can make lots of good stuff from it.  I could com­plain about cap­i­tal­ism, but it’s not going away.  The mar­ket dri­ves cap­i­tal­ism, so if you’re offended, then don’t buy what’s being sold, plain and simple.

So, what I see miss­ing is that the peo­ple com­plain­ing on Face­book and claim­ing they have the higher (par­don the pun) ground are show­ing up at events they did not orga­nize and com­plain­ing about the peo­ple who did orga­nize them.  What a colos­sal waste of time.  Talk is cheap.  Instead of doing some­thing pro­duc­tive, they talk trash about oth­ers.  It’s pathetic.  This proves they are not rep­re­sent­ing any higher issue at all.  They rep­re­sent small­ness, plain and sim­ple.  I like to call them Face­book Com­man­dos, or arm­chair quar­ter­backs if you want to go with an older colloquialism.

I don’t know how any­one can say that med­ical use or indus­trial use will not lead to full legal­iza­tion, since we are see­ing full legal­iza­tion now as a direct result of the many use­ful things mar­i­juana can do.  But, if peo­ple want to say the many uses of this plant will not lead to fur­ther legal­iza­tion, let’s not waste our time attack­ing them for it.

If these whin­ers on Face­book would go find some­thing pro­duc­tive to do, instead of com­plain­ing about peo­ple doing good things, we’d all be a lot bet­ter off for it.

I don’t know about you, but when some­one starts pro­mot­ing the ben­e­fits of mar­i­juana, I want to thank them for it.  Attack­ing them on Face­book is not some­thing I can thank any­one for.

Posted in General | 6 Comments

It’s Not Over Yet

Dreaming

Dream­ing of a brighter future in Iowa

There has been a lot of par­ti­san bick­er­ing in the Iowa leg­is­la­ture over med­ical mar­i­juana this year, and it’s not over yet.  Since Iowa enacted a med­ical cannabis extract law (2015 Iowa Code Chap­ter 124D — Med­ical Cannabid­iol Act) last year, no one has been able to obtain it legally.  Cannabid­iol is not approved by the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA) and can­not be obtained legally any­where in the United States.  So, the ques­tion is when a state enacts a law accept­ing the med­ical use of some­thing that is not approved by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, how does that work?

You’ll have to admit, this doesn’t hap­pen very often.  With­out a thor­ough under­stand­ing of the foun­da­tions of the inter­na­tional, fed­eral, and state drug laws, it’s a dif­fi­cult ques­tion to answer.  The answer lies, how­ever, in the prefa­tory notes in the Uni­form Con­trolled Sub­stances Act, “Legit­i­mate use of con­trolled sub­stances is essen­tial for pub­lic health and safety, and the avail­abil­ity of these sub­stances must be assured.”

Iowa Democ­rats have been pro­mot­ing the cul­ti­va­tion and use of mar­i­juana for med­ical pur­poses here in Iowa.  A phrase you’ll often hear at the Capi­tol is, “Twenty-three states have already done this and Iowa does not need to rein­vent the wheel.”  But, is it really that sim­ple?  Have twenty-three states actu­ally fig­ured this out, or do we need to rein­vent the wheel?

My opin­ion is that until states part­ner with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, a safe and reg­u­lated sup­ply of med­ical cannabis will not hap­pen and patients will be at risk.  Major pro­fes­sional med­ical orga­ni­za­tions (the Amer­i­can Acad­emy of Neu­rol­ogy and the Amer­i­can Acad­emy of Pedi­atrics) have already begun to ask the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to coop­er­ate by remov­ing mar­i­juana from the restric­tive fed­eral clas­si­fi­ca­tion that says it’s not med­i­cine any­where in the United States.  Really?  I thought there were twenty-three states that had accepted it.

I think it’s time we had a seri­ous dis­cus­sion with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, but I don’t think major pro­fes­sional med­ical orga­ni­za­tions carry as much weight as state gov­ern­ments.  After all, what is the fed­eral gov­ern­ment?  Isn’t the fed­eral gov­ern­ment just a union of states?  I thought so.  I think that’s what I learned in school.

When I talked to my state sen­a­tor, Jack Whitver, he agreed to give this approach a try.  Sen­a­tor Whitver is a Repub­li­can and an attor­ney by pro­fes­sion.  He under­stands law.  So, I have a unique sit­u­a­tion.  My sen­a­tor under­stands law and I have a legal argu­ment.  We actu­ally speak the same lan­guage.  How­ever, when he tried to get the other Repub­li­cans to sign on to it, the Sen­ate Repub­li­can Cau­cus refused and came up with a defec­tive plan to trade the Democ­rats noth­ing for some­thing.  The details follow.

The story begins on April 15, 2015, with Sen­ate Amend­ment S-3126 (a pro­posal to change marijuana’s clas­si­fi­ca­tion in Iowa) offered by the Sen­ate Repub­li­cans in return for strik­ing the entire Med­ical Cannabis Act, SF 484, pro­posed by the Democ­rats.  Chang­ing the clas­si­fi­ca­tion of mar­i­juana in Iowa with­out chang­ing it at the fed­eral level does absolutely noth­ing.  It might be good sym­bol­ism and that’s a good rea­son to do it, but in real­ity it does absolutely noth­ing for sick and injured peo­ple.  It was not a good deal (noth­ing for some­thing) and the Sen­ate voted it down (thanks for noth­ing, Repub­li­cans).  Here is a break­down of the votes on S-3126 by party: 19 Sen­ate Repub­li­cans — Aye; 5 Sen­ate Repub­li­cans — Absent; 1 Sen­ate Demo­c­rat — Aye; 24 Sen­ate Democ­rats — Nay; 1 Sen­ate Demo­c­rat – Absent.

After that bogus deal, the Sen­ate Democ­rats offered Sen­ate Amend­ment S-3123 (a pro­posal to change marijuana’s clas­si­fi­ca­tion in Iowa) offered as an addi­tion to the Med­ical Cannabis Act, SF 484, pro­posed by the Democ­rats.  Reclas­si­fi­ca­tion does noth­ing, but it’s nice sym­bol­ism and goes along nicely with the Med­ical Cannabis Act, SF 484.  The Sen­ate voted to adopt S-3123 unan­i­mously.  Here is a break­down of the votes on S-2123 by party: 19 Sen­ate Repub­li­cans — Aye; 5 Sen­ate Repub­li­cans — Absent; 25 Sen­ate Democ­rats — Aye; 1 Sen­ate Demo­c­rat – Absent.

Stop now and real­ize that every Demo­c­rat and every Repub­li­can just agreed that mar­i­juana is med­i­cine.  Think about that for a moment, or longer if you have time.

How­ever, the vote on the Med­ical Cannabis Act was divided again.  Here is a break­down of the votes on SF 484 by party: 1 Sen­ate Repub­li­can — Aye; 18 Sen­ate Repub­li­cans — Nay; 5 Sen­ate Repub­li­cans — Absent; 25 Sen­ate Democ­rats — Aye; 1 Sen­ate Demo­c­rat — Nay.  You can see that a sin­gle Repub­li­can (thank you, Sen­a­tor Zaun) gave the Democ­rats enough votes to barely squeak this one through.  SF 484 was then assigned to the House Com­mit­tee on Pub­lic Safety to die.

Not will­ing to go down easy, on May 5, 2015, the Sen­ate Democ­rats pro­posed amend­ment S-3148 (reclas­si­fy­ing mar­i­juana as med­i­cine) to HF 567 (adding syn­thetic poi­sons to the same clas­si­fi­ca­tion mar­i­juana is cur­rently in).  The Sen­ate nar­rowly adopted the amend­ment and sent the bill back to the House (thank you, again and again, Sen­a­tor Zaun).  Here is a break­down of the votes on S-3148 by party: 1 Sen­ate Repub­li­can — Aye; 23 Sen­ate Repub­li­cans — Nay; 25 Sen­ate Democ­rats — Aye; 1 Sen­ate Demo­c­rat — Nay.  Here is a break­down of the votes on HF 567 by party: 1 Sen­ate Repub­li­can — Aye; 23 Sen­ate Repub­li­cans — Nay; 26 Sen­ate Democ­rats — Aye.

So, the House Repub­li­cans got really upset about HF 567 being amended by the Sen­ate.  On May 20, 2015, House Repub­li­cans pro­posed an amend­ment H-1365 (adding syn­thetic poi­sons to the same clas­si­fi­ca­tion mar­i­juana is cur­rently in) to SF 510 (the stand­ing appro­pri­a­tions bill).  Not to be out­done, the House Democ­rats pro­pose their own amend­ment H-1379 (legal­iz­ing med­ical mar­i­juana) to H-1365.  Both amend­ments were ruled not ger­mane to the stand­ing appro­pri­a­tions bill, but the House Democ­rats were unable to sus­pend the rules to vote on their amend­ment while the House Repub­li­cans were able to suc­cess­fully sus­pend the rules to vote on their amend­ment.  Here is a break­down of the votes to sus­pend the rules for H-1379: 2 House Repub­li­cans — Aye; 53 House Repub­li­cans — Nay; 2 House Repub­li­cans — Absent; 41 House Democ­rats — Aye; 2 House Democ­rats — Absent.  Here is a break­down of the votes on H-1365: 55 House Repub­li­cans — Aye; 2 House Repub­li­cans — Absent; 41 House Democ­rats — Nay; 2 House Democ­rats — Absent.

So, what does all of this mean?  We have SF 484 dead in the House.  We have HF 567 dead in the House.  We have SF 510 dead in the Sen­ate.  We know there will be a bud­get bill.  And, we know syn­thetic poi­son isn’t going to be ignored another year.  But, all the bills appear to be dead.

My state sen­a­tor, Sen­a­tor Whitver, tells me the House amend­ment, H-1365 (adding syn­thetic pot to the list of con­trolled sub­stances and grant­ing a longer period for tem­po­rary sched­ul­ing from 60 days to 2 years), to SF 510 (the bud­get appro­pri­a­tions bill) is prob­a­bly dead.  The sen­ate will not adopt the amend­ment.  He does not know exactly how the bud­get will be resolved, but it could go to a con­fer­ence committee.

My state rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Koester, tells me SF 484 can still be debated in the House if there is a motion to sus­pend the rules, and it can still be tacked onto another bill as an amend­ment if it’s ger­mane, or by motion to sus­pend the rules if it’s not germane.

So, every­thing is still on the table until the leg­is­la­ture adjourns.  If you sup­port SF 484, now is the time to get on down to the state Capi­tol and ask for a motion to sus­pend the rules to get this on the House floor for debate this year.  There’s not much time left.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What the Democrats are missing.

Audio from April 20, 2015

At the Iowa Capitol

At the Iowa Capitol

Democ­rats are say­ing Iowa should not wait for the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to legal­ize med­ical use of marijuana.

Repub­li­cans are ask­ing how busi­nesses (4 grow­ers and 12 dis­pen­saries) are all going to be vio­lat­ing fed­eral law here Iowa and that’s just okay with all of us?

So I’m ask­ing, if accepted med­ical use in treat­ment in the United States means accepted by a state and intrastate med­ical use does not require FDA approval, why aren’t we say­ing that its legal instead of agree­ing that it’s illegal?

Are we say­ing, “We knows it’s a crime, but we’re okay with it?” Really?

Repub­li­cans will just have to eat that?

I under­stand pas­sion and all that, but we’re get­ting to the point where we really need to work out the details.

We should say the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is vio­lat­ing our states’ right to make this a med­i­cine and the exist­ing fed­eral law already makes it legal for us to do that. Just because the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is unlaw­fully keep­ing mar­i­juana in a clas­si­fi­ca­tion that says it has no med­ical use in treat­ment in the United States is no excuse for us to just go along with it.

Posted in States | Leave a comment

April Ankeny Legislative Forum

Audio from April 11, 2015

Ankeny Legislative Forum

Ankeny Leg­isla­tive Forum — April 11, 2015

MODERATOR: Sir.

CARL OLSEN: Yes, Sen­a­tor Whitver, can you tell me how you’re going to vote on the med­ical cannabis pro­gram and what we might need to do to get the House to adopt that?

SENATOR JACK WHITVER: The cur­rent bill as is that greatly, in my opin­ion, greatly expands what we did last year, I would not be sup­port­ive of at this time. I’m more inter­ested, I think there’s a right way… The last year we passed a bill that said the state of Iowa believes mar­i­juana has med­i­c­i­nal value. If that is true, and that’s what we think as a state, I think there is a proper way to do it going for­ward. So, mov­ing from sched­ule 1 to sched­ule 2, some­thing like that would be of much more inter­est to me than just blow­ing open that code chap­ter. It’s impor­tant to me that what­ever we do with med­ical mar­i­juana is tested and we have the research behind it. And right now that bill, I don’t think it gives us that oppor­tu­nity to do that. So, I just think there is a process to go through that we need to go through. It’s not as fast as a lot of peo­ple that are advo­cat­ing for it would like, but I thinks it’s our role to do it the right way.

CARL OLSEN: Is there any chance of fix­ing it before it goes to the House?

SENATOR JACK WHITVER: It depends. It was sup­posed to go for a vote Wednes­day. It didn’t, so I don’t know when it’s going to come up. It could be Mon­day, I guess it could be Tues­day. We’re work­ing on it, but I don’t know if it can be changed to the point where I can vote for it.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN LANDON: We were promised in the House when this bill passed last year at 2 o’clock in the morn­ing on the last day that we would have time to run a test from the Uni­ver­sity of Iowa, that we would have absolutely sci­en­tific evi­dence and results before we were ever asked to expand or do any­thing with it again. And I don’t know how this request before the test has even got­ten its legs under it hon­ors that promise that we were made in the House. So, I would tell you that I’m very inter­ested in that test and the sci­en­tific data behind it to make sure. And I would like to see it done through phar­ma­cies where a pre­scrip­tion can be made to an indi­vid­ual and they can go get what they absolutely know is the right level of med­ica­tion. And I’ll give you an exam­ple, today if you go to the phar­macy you can buy cer­tain lev­els of maybe ibupro­fen, you know what’s in an aspirin, you know for sure. But you don’t know that with cannabis oil because there’s no stan­dards for man­u­fac­tur­ing. The process is unde­fined and before that hap­pens I think there’s a lot of things that need to be put into place for that. And so, for us just to prove what­ever, who’s going to be respon­si­ble for unin­tended con­se­quences if things hap­pen that aren’t med­ically proven yet? And that’s the ques­tion that we all deal with and I don’t for a sec­ond want any­one to suf­fer for any rea­son. But I do think that some­times we look at issue like this and we can do more harm than we can good for folks. We want to make sure that every step that we’re tak­ing helps peo­ple and is the right thing to do.

CARL OLSEN: How do you explain twenty-three states mov­ing ahead with some­thing like that?

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN LANDON: You know I can’t explain Wash­ing­ton DC.

Posted in States | 10 Comments

My Amendment to SF 484

Sick People's March

Sick People’s March — April 7, 2015 — Des Moines, Iowa — in sup­port of SF 484

On April 7, 2015, I met with Iowa sen­a­tors Jack Whitver and Charles Schnei­der to dis­cus pro­tect­ing Iowa cannabis patients from the unlaw­ful clas­si­fi­ca­tion of cannabis under the fed­eral Con­trolled Sub­stances Act.

Sen­a­tor Whitver gave me the fol­low­ing amend­ment he had cre­ated for me by the Leg­isla­tive Ser­vices Agency:

!– clear floats –>

Sen­ate File 484
Amend Sen­ate File 484 as fol­lows:
1. Page 17, after line 11 by insert­ing:
<Sec. ___. NOTIFICATION. The office of attor­ney
gen­eral in this state shall notify the attor­ney
gen­eral of the United States request­ing that the United
States depart­ment of jus­tice rec­og­nize this state’s
right to deter­mine the med­ical use of con­trolled
sub­stances, by reclas­si­fy­ing mar­i­juana as a sched­ule 2
con­trolled sub­stance instead of a sched­ule 1 con­trolled
sub­stance.>
2. Title page, line 1, by strik­ing and
Insert­ing <relat­ing to>
3. By renum­ber­ing as necessary.

Posted in Federal, States | 1 Comment

Ankeny Legislative Forum — March 14, 2015

Audio from March 14, 2015

Ankeny Chamber Legislative Forum - March 14, 2015

Ankeny Cham­ber Leg­isla­tive Forum — March 14, 2015

Ankeny Cham­ber Leg­isla­tive Forum — March 14, 2015

MODERATOR: Yes, sir.

LAURA JUMPER’S DAD: For­give me if I don’t phrase this ques­tion right, but it has to do with the impasse on cannabis oil. You know I’m new to this and I’ve got a daugh­ter who’s very sick and we think this could help her. And I know there’s been, I think there’s another bill that was pro­posed, and you can own it in the state of Iowa, you just can’t… I don’t know if you can own it, if you can’t trans­port it, and you can’t get it into the state. So it seems just kind of like a bot­tle neck of, you know that last bill’s kind of ineffective.

MODERATOR: So, the ques­tion is what’s the sta­tus of cannabis oil. What is the impasse, and where do you see it going? Sound reasonable?

LAURA JUMPER’S DAD: Yeah.

SENATOR JACK WHITVER: Yeah, so last year we did pass a bill that legal­ized some of the cannabis oil for a very lim­ited num­ber of peo­ple. That bill, frankly, I have one of our biggest advo­cates from the area Carl Olsen’s back here that has been big on this issue. I don’t know if he would agree, but I would say that I don’t think that bill was thought out as well as it should have been. And it doesn’t do what it was intended to do. We passed it at 3 in the morn­ing the last day of the ses­sion. I believe that, and I’ve been open minded but cau­tious on this issue. But I believe that before we expand it, which is what the bill in the Sen­ate that was pro­posed I think last week, expands it greatly, I believe we need to fix what we have and make sure that it’s work­able. This is an issue that you really need the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and the state gov­ern­ment work­ing together. Because what we told par­ents like your­self last year is, sure you can own it in Iowa, but you have to go to Col­orado or Cal­i­for­nia to buy it and then you can bring it back, but once you bring it back you cross fed­eral, or state lines, which is a fed­eral crime. And so what we passed I don’t believe can help any­one. And we need to find a solu­tion with that and I think, frankly, it prob­a­bly starts with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and what they’re doing. Per­son­ally, I want to see more research before we blow that chap­ter wide open with a lot more.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN LANDEN: It’s my opin­ion that you need to be able to go to a phar­macy and get a pre­scrip­tion filled.

MODERATOR: Kevin?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN KOESTER: I voted for that at 3 in the morn­ing on May 1, 2014. The access, for gov­ern­ment to restrict what could be legal in a way that would help a child is a really tough issue. The slip­pery slope is where it goes from there, in terms of, “Should we serve it in school lunch?” Alright, I’m get­ting a lit­tle rad­i­cal with it, but I’ve been out of state in every direc­tion you can go with my daugh­ter that I ref­er­ence, hav­ing a dilemma, because of her birth defect, because you’ve got to lis­ten to the best sources you can to fig­ure out which surgery to do and what to do. And gov­ern­ment bet­ter not get in my way. What am I going to do for my daugh­ter? And at the same time, the bill we passed sat­is­fied some very impor­tant enthu­si­asts for this thing last year because we mis­un­der­stood how it would work. So, I agree with the com­ment that it did noth­ing help­ful to advance its pur­pose. It needs to be looked at, but in this very build­ing is the Ankeny Sub­stance Abuse Project which looks really hard at avoid­ing peo­ple get­ting into addic­tion around irre­spon­si­ble behav­ior when we cod­dle human nature to serve cannabis in school lunch and I’m going to do what I can to keep that from happening.

MODERATOR: So, just to con­firm, the ques­tion about school lunches was rhetor­i­cal and not a state­ment of sup­port, then?

REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN KOESTER: Oh, I for­got that we were record­ing. That’s new. These record­ings are new. I’m not used to this.

Posted in States | Leave a comment

Urbandale Legislative Forum

urbandale-2014-01-31

John Forbes talks about med­ical cannabis

I attended the leg­isla­tive forum on Sat­ur­day, Jan­u­ary 31, 2015, at the Urban­dale Cham­ber of Com­merce. The event was well-attended and two med­ical cannabis advo­cates spoke out at the forum, Con­nie Nor­gart and Craig Miller, ask­ing for pro­duc­tion of cannabis in Iowa and expand­ing the list of con­di­tions for which it can be used. State Sen­a­tor Brad Zaun said he had voted for the Cannbid­iol Act in 2014. State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive John Forbes said State Sen­a­tor Joe Bolk­com would be intro­duc­ing a bill the week of Feb­ru­ary 1, 2015, in the Iowa Leg­is­la­ture to pro­duce cannabis here in Iowa and to expand the list of con­di­tions for which it can be used. Rep. Forbes said he had been talk­ing with United States Sen­a­tor Charles Grass­ley about chang­ing the fed­eral sched­ul­ing of cannabis.

Posted in Federal, States | 1 Comment

Pharmacy Board denies my petition again

Des Moines 20100822 066Here are the events that took place on my peti­tion for mar­i­juana sched­ul­ing. First the sub­com­mit­tee report from Novem­ber 19, 2014.

Here’s a link to a copy of the sub­com­mit­tee report.

After the sub­com­mit­tee report was read, the fol­low­ing con­ver­sa­tion took place:

EDWARD MAIER: So, that entire doc­u­ment is what the com­mit­tee has rec­om­mended to the board. I would now open it for dis­cus­sion or any action that the board would like to take.

SUSAN FREY: Well, I would like to thank the com­mit­tee for their work. I think it, this doc­u­ment and these rec­om­men­da­tions, sum up what we have been try­ing to do for the last five years that we’ve been look­ing at this project, or this sub­ject. So, I would be in sup­port of the com­mit­tee recommendation.

JAMES MILLER: I, too, would like to thank the com­mit­tee for all its work, and it’s cer­tainly been a wor­ri­some issue since 2009 or before. I think there’s a lot to this doc­u­ment that Ed has just read and we just received it in copy a few min­utes ago to review. I would be in favor of tabling this thing until at least until our next meet­ing so we have time to review it more thor­oughly. I’m espe­cially con­cerned about the last para­graph, that the Iowa Board of Phar­macy mak­ing a rule about sched­ule changes when this is clearly the purview of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. We just went through a sit­u­a­tion in Iowa where hydrocodone, one of the most widely pre­scribed opi­ate pain reliev­ers in our state, and in the whole coun­try; and we sched­ule it as a sched­ule 3 in Iowa until the fed­eral gov­ern­ment said, “No, it’s going to be a sched­ule 2.” We could have a peti­tion say­ing, “You know what? In Iowa I think we’re just going to leave it in sched­ule 3.” That was not our abil­ity to do that. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment decides what sched­ule things are in. So, I think we should take our time as far as mak­ing any fur­ther rec­om­men­da­tions. So, I would move that we table this. Give it some more thought.

EDWARD MAIER: Do we have any discussion?

SUSAN FREY: Jim does bring up an inter­est­ing point. And, again, we find our­selves in that quandary of we already have the estab­lished, the leg­isla­tive estab­lished cannabid­iol act. I would cer­tainly be will­ing to table it and hear more.

EDWARD MAIER: That was the quandary that the com­mit­tee placed our­selves in. We knew that num­ber one we could have a rec­om­men­da­tion straight out against because of the fed­eral class 1. And, then we could look at Iowa law, the act this last year, the cannabid­iol act has placed us in a posi­tion where Iowa law, it meets all the cri­te­ria of for class 2. We’re into the catch-22, so to speak here.

JAMES MILLER: I would say that Iowa leg­is­la­tors are elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the cit­i­zens of Iowa. We are not elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives. We have dif­fer­ent scope and ser­vice to the cit­i­zens. The elected body can choose to do what­ever they wish. But as an Iowa cit­i­zen, I’m a cit­i­zen of Iowa, and so I’m sub­ject to Iowa laws. I’m also a cit­i­zen of the United States. So, I’m sub­ject to fed­eral laws. I’m not attor­ney. My rec­ol­lec­tion is fed­eral law super­sedes. So, I think even, regard­less of what the Iowa leg­is­la­ture does, as a cit­i­zen I have to kind of be thinkin’, “Hmm, I won­der which set of laws are we going to be under?”

EDWARD MAIER: And, I think it’s impor­tant that no mat­ter which way this goes, this is sim­ply a rec­om­men­da­tion to the leg­is­la­ture and the leg­is­la­ture then would have to take action and the gov­er­nor would have to sign that. It would have to be, go through the reg­u­lar chan­nels. And, it’s a dif­fi­cult, very dif­fi­cult matter.

JAMES MILLER: I think it’s extremely dif­fi­cult. But I also think that there’s some cred­i­bil­ity here as far as the board and what our role is and that we main­tain our dili­gence as far as the safety of the cit­i­zens of Iowa. And, we’ll be looked at to estab­lish the safety of the drug prod­ucts that we cur­rently take respon­si­bil­ity for. Mar­i­juana wouldn’t fall into that cat­e­gory at all: the stan­dard­iza­tion of dose; as far as proven effi­cacy; as far as proven safety. I think that clearly is out­side of the bounds of our expertise.

EDWARD MAIER: Any other comments?

EDWARD McKENNA: I agree with Jim, because I think that the mar­i­juana oil that peo­ple use for epilepsy, the Uni­ver­sity of Iowa is mon­i­tor­ing that pro­gram. Right? So, I think we need more infor­ma­tion that the oil is actu­ally work­ing. That pro­gram was just implemented.

Jan­u­ary 5, 2015:

Item 3.5 on the Agenda (around 9:30 a.m.)

JAMES MILLER: Item 3.5 is the Olsen ver­sus the Board of Phar­macy petition.

LLOYD JESSEN: I think Meghan might have a lit­tle com­ment for us.

MEGHAN GAVIN: Yes, I’ll give you a lit­tle update. This is one of your sev­eral judi­cial reviews right now going through the courts at the moment and time, but the board will remem­ber this was Mr. Olsen’s request that you con­sid­ered in Jan­u­ary of last year about the reclas­si­fi­ca­tion of mar­i­juana resched­ul­ing, I should say of mar­i­juana. Judge Ovrom deter­mined after the brief­ing and oral argu­ment that this board main­tains dis­cre­tion about which par­tic­u­lar drug it chooses to make rec­om­men­da­tions to the leg­is­la­ture for. She said that your deci­sion on whether or not to rec­om­mend can only be over­turned for abuse of dis­cre­tion. She found no abuse of dis­cre­tion in the year 2014 rec­om­men­da­tion. So, she is say­ing that. This has since been appealed by Mr. Olsen to the Iowa supreme court. The case is not done, but this is the first time that we actu­ally have a judi­cial deci­sion that directly per­tains to what your, this board’s oblig­a­tion is under the con­trolled sub­stances act to make rec­om­men­da­tions every year. It’s a fairly short deci­sion, so I encour­age you all to read it. If you have any ques­tions, just let me know.

JAMES MILLER: Is there any indi­ca­tion of when the supreme court’s going to review it?

MEGHAN GAVIN: Appeals take time and what will hap­pen is once the tran­script is sent to the court, they’ll send out a brief­ing sched­ule and that usu­ally takes about four to six months for the brief­ings to be com­pleted and given to the court, at which time Iowa has kind of a unique appel­late sys­tem, so it will be reviewed by staff attor­neys and the supreme court will make a deci­sion on whether or not to keep the case or to give it to the court of appeals. I sus­pect, because the case is based solely on statu­tory inter­pre­ta­tion, that it will be sent to the court of appeals for adju­di­ca­tion. They then get things pretty quickly before them. So I would imag­ine next fall. I know, does that seem quick from an out­side per­spec­tive? But, actu­ally it is fairly quick. So I would imag­ine next fall they will have it sub­mit­ted to the court of appeals. Both the court of appeals and the supreme court take short recesses in the sum­mer to work on admin­is­tra­tive things, so that’s my best guess. After the court of appeals you have an oppor­tu­nity to request the supreme court review, but you don’t have a right to that. So, that could keep the case pend­ing for a lit­tle while longer.

JAMES MILLER: Any other ques­tions regard­ing item 3.5?

Item 2.1 on the Agenda (approx­i­mately 10:00 a.m.)

The phar­macy board delayed the dis­cus­sion of my peti­tion (Item 2.1 on the Agenda) until 10:00 a.m. on Jan­u­ary 5, 2015.

EDWARD MAIER: We’re ready to pro­ceed and my under­stand­ing is that we are at 2.1 on our agenda, the peti­tion to request reclas­si­fi­ca­tion of mar­i­juana. And, what we’ve heard on that is that we have some sug­ges­tions from the last time around from the sub­com­mit­tee. And, we voted to table it. And, so I’m going to open it up here to the board for some dis­cus­sion at this point and see where we want to go from here on that topic.

JAMES MILLER: Well, I think we should limit our dis­cus­sion to the cannabid­iol that was acted on by the Iowa leg­is­la­ture. The Iowa leg­is­la­ture did not, cer­tainly had dis­cus­sions about reclas­si­fy­ing mar­i­juana, and they did not take any action on that. I think their purview demands that they would, but they did take action as far as address­ing cannabid­iol. And, so I think we can, we could uphold the act. But as far as the rest of the 400 com­po­nents of the mar­i­juana plant that are listed, I don’t think we have any purview there.

SUSAN FREY: I guess I would agree with that, sim­ply because as a board our pro­ce­dure has always been in the past that we name the spe­cific com­pound or chem­i­cal entity. For instance, we don’t just rec­om­mend that we resched­ule all pain killers, because there’s dif­fer­ent lev­els, they are used for dif­fer­ent things. And, so, I would, I think that’s prob­a­bly been our biggest stum­bling block, is just by say­ing mar­i­juana it’s not spe­cific enough. So, I would sim­ply, we already have leg­is­la­tion that has addressed the cannabid­iol oil, and that we rec­om­mend reclas­si­fi­ca­tion of that prod­uct. And, as sci­en­tific and med­ical infor­ma­tion comes along for other deriv­a­tives, since we already have Mari­nol that is sched­uled, that’s a mar­i­juana deriv­a­tive or THC prod­uct, a chem­i­cal entity of mar­i­juana, it’s already sched­uled. I think we should address each indi­vid­ual chem­i­cal as they become, or entity as they become avail­able. So, that would be, I would sec­ond Jim’s rec­om­men­da­tion that we address sim­ply the cannabid­iol oil to bring us in com­pli­ance with the legislation.

MEGHAN GAVIN: Can I inter­ject one second?

SUSAN FREY: Sure.

MEGHAN GAVIN: The board is cer­tainly able to make your rec­om­men­da­tion as nar­row as you want. The actual peti­tion, how­ever, itself is for the reclas­si­fi­ca­tion of mar­i­juana. So, if you’re going to go down the route as has been sug­gested, you would deny that rec­om­men­da­tion in total and make your more spe­cific rec­om­men­da­tion. That would be the procedure.

SUSAN FREY: Okay.

JAMES MILLER: I would move that we …

EDWARD MAIER: Just a sec­ond. I think that we need to have a lit­tle more dis­cus­sion from the mem­bers of the the com­mit­tee who made the rec­om­men­da­tion. I’d like to hear if they have any input on what’s just been said.

SHARON MEYER: Well, I think as a phar­ma­cist we all have that sci­en­tific view­point that if a par­tic­u­lar chem­i­cal or com­pound that has some med­ical effect, it would need to be stud­ied and researched and stan­dard­ized. And, that’s what we pre­fer for dosage forms for patients. As a mem­ber of the sub­com­mit­tee I think what we wres­tled with is what is cur­rently in the code that has lan­guage to the effect that if a sub­stance is cur­rently in sched­ule 1 is found to have some med­ical ben­e­fit then per­haps it should be con­sid­ered sched­ule 2. I think that’s kind of where we as a sub­com­mit­tee were going is because we were fol­low­ing what’s in the Iowa Code now to make recommendations.

LADONNA GRATIAS: And, also the leg­is­la­ture did pass med­ical mar­i­juana. It was told to us that it really was a schedule …

EDWARD MAIER: That was cannabid­iol oil.

JAMES MILLER: Just one component.

LADONNA GRATIAS: Right.

SUSAN FREY: Well, I guess …

JAMES MILLER: I would say, there’s a prod­uct being tested in the US and UK, it’s being tested in human sub­jects in a prod­uct that has both THC and cannabid­iol. It’s been in clin­i­cal tri­als. So there are some stan­dard­ized prod­ucts being devel­oped. But to con­sider the whole mar­i­juana plant I think is way beyond the scope of what …

SUSAN FREY: I guess I’m, in ret­ro­spect, it makes sense to me that if you can use the anal­ogy of opium, opium is in sched­ule 1. So, it’s a raw plant. And, so it has med­i­c­i­nal value. It’s in sched­ule 1. But, yet, we have mor­phine, which is in sched­ule 2, which is a direct deriv­a­tive of that plant. To me, that’s where this should fit. We should keep mar­i­juana in sched­ule 1, but then the chem­i­cal enti­ties that devel­oped from that should go into sched­ule 2.

EDWARD MAIER: Okay, I guess I agree with Sharon from the per­spec­tive of the group. That is what we strug­gled with. But we also strug­gled with the fact that I don’t think any of us were com­pletely ready to say we want to jump both feet in and say that we think there should be a med­ical mar­i­juana pro­gram in this state. That’s not, at least from my per­sonal per­spec­tive, and I think I recall a con­ver­sa­tion that was a part of it, because it is such a broad thing. And, there is such a vari­ance in poten­cies of the plant. It’s a very hard thing to get your hand on sci­en­tif­i­cally. We’ve heard some peo­ple say there’s some uses for deriv­a­tives, but, you know, at this point and time we’re still, we need more research. But sched­ule 1 and sched­ule 2 both allow research. One point that I really am, because I’m really, I’m really strong on, because I’ve been here for the last six year and we’ve strug­gled with this, there are con­flict­ing cita­tions in the code. One place it says its sched­ule 1 except by rules of the board and one place it says its sched­ule 2 except by the board. I strongly believe that we need to rec­om­mend, or that we need to do some­thing leg­isla­tively to clear that mess up, whichever way we go.

JAMES MILLER: There’s a peti­tion to your point and I think the peti­tion itself talks about two places in the Iowa Code. You know, we have a leg­is­la­ture that is charged with writ­ing the code in par­tic­u­lar. I don’t think they need any rec­om­men­da­tion from us. We’re not attor­neys. We’re here to take care of the phar­macy laws and pro­tect the health of our cit­i­zens. So, I think that kind of stuff is way beyond our area of exper­tise. I don’t think we have any busi­ness telling them what to do.

EDWARD MAIER: I agree with the part about the fact, prob­a­bly I feel more com­fort­able with mak­ing a rec­om­men­da­tion of cannabid­iol than I do on mar­i­juana. Per­son­ally, if somebody’s will­ing to make that rec­om­men­da­tion, then I’m will­ing to go … I don’t think we can just deny this request and move away because the legislature’s already said that there is some use for cannabid­iol. If we’re allowed to turn aroundthen and make a rec­om­men­da­tion for cannabid­iol, I’m will­ing to say we deny the mar­i­juana part of it and we just include the cannabid­iol and rec­om­mend that the change be made to delete those ref­er­ences to the rules of the board.

MEGHAN GAVIN: Well, your pro­posal then would be to make clear that the leg­is­la­ture would have to act before mar­i­juana would be resched­uled, then the board would not be com­mit­ted to estab­lish a mar­i­juana program.

EDWARD MAIER: That’s what I’m thinkin’. Our idea is that we don’t have the power to estab­lish a mar­i­juana pro­gram. We can’t write those rules because they’re too broad. But, yet, there’s a sug­ges­tion there that we should, and that’s not right. That’s the legislature’s pre­rog­a­tive, not our pre­rog­a­tive. And, those things need to be out of the code.

SUSAN FREY: I agree that if we deny the peti­tion, that we should turn around and do a rec­om­men­da­tion for the cannabid­iol oil. But, then, per­haps we should move the other part of that as a piece of leg­is­la­tion to be entered in and not part of a suggestion.

EDWARD MAIER: And I’m per­fectly agree­able to that. I was think­ing to make that change as a part of the whole thing. It’s going to keep com­ing back to us as rule mak­ing and those are those out­dated word­ing that has been there for years. That kind of a pro­gram is way too broad for one board. It would be way too broad for the board of med­i­cine, or the board of nurs­ing, or any­body else to write those kinds of rules. So, I guess I would enter­tain … Is there any other dis­cus­sion? Okay, I would enter­tain a motion from anybody.

EDWARD MCKENNA: I think we already have a motion.

EDWARD MAIER: Just a sec­ond now, we have a comment.

CARL OLSEN: Opium plants are in sched­ule 2, not sched­ule 1. And coca plants are in sched­ule 2, not sched­ule 1. We don’t have any plants in sched­ule 1 from which any med­i­cines are derived. So, that was an incor­rect state­ment. If you want to nor­mal­ize the act, you rec­om­mend mar­i­juana be clas­si­fied like opium pop­pies and coca plant because that’s where we put plants that are the source mate­r­ial for these deriv­a­tives like cannabidiol.

JAMES MILLER: Duly noted. I’ll make a rec­om­men­da­tion that we deny the request.

SUSAN FREY: And I will sec­ond it.

EDWARD MAIER: Any fur­ther dis­cus­sion? All those in favor, aye.

ALL BOARD MEMBERS: Aye.

EDWARD MAIER: Opposed? Okay, the motion has been denied. Does any­one have any fur­ther rec­om­men­da­tion they would like to …

SUSAN FREY: I move that we rec­om­mend to the leg­is­la­ture to resched­ule cannabid­iol oil to sched­ule 2.

MAIER: Sec­ond. Any fur­ther discussion?

EDWARD MCKENNA: The only dis­cus­sion I have on it is, how broad is that? In other words, if you have mor­phine sched­uled like 15 mg, 30 mg, dif­fer­ent things like that? How do we know if there’s other ingre­di­ents in that oil? What are we rec­om­mend­ing? In other words there are cer­tain com­pa­nies out there that make that. Are they legit­i­mate companies?

EDWARD MAIER: And, that’s already been said. I think at this point the leg­is­la­ture has rec­og­nized the med­ical use for it and that is our criteria.

EDWARD MCKENNA: Right.

EDWARD MAIER: But, duly noted that there are con­cerns, a major concern.

JAMES MILLER: Another major con­cern, accord­ing to DEA it’s sched­ule 1. So, every phar­macy in the state has to have a DEA license and you have to abide by that license. So we would all be break­ing the law if we had a cannabid­iol prod­uct. Its con­sis­tent with the leg­isla­tive act, but noth­ing else.

MEGHAN GAVIN: I think, I want to say this accu­rately, the clas­si­fi­ca­tion of cannabid­iol under fed­eral law is a lit­tle bit of a gray area at the moment and time. Some peo­ple believe it to be part of sched­ule 1 as mar­i­juana and some peo­ple believe it to be unsched­uled. There’s no defin­i­tive state­ment. And, to my knowl­edge I don’t believe DEA has taken a posi­tion pub­licly on it.

EDWARD MAIER: Carl, do you want to …

CARL OLSEN: The DEA web­site clearly clas­si­fies cannabid­iol as sched­ule 1.

EDWARD MAIER: So, if we were to go to sched­ule 2, we would still be …

CARL OLSEN: It has a drug con­trol num­ber, 73 something.

JAMES MILLER: But the deriv­a­tive prod­uct being approved, you know, in the approval process, includes the cannabid­iol that is in the act.

SHARON MEYER: Just for the sake of dis­cus­sion, is some­thing that is needed pos­si­bly some­thing the leg­is­la­ture needs to address with that? That a sub­stance, cannabid­iol is included in this to the leg­is­la­ture? That is is a sched­ule 1 sub­stance? Is that some­thing that really the leg­is­la­ture needs to address, that there is con­flicts in the code? So, I don’t know if we’re rec­om­mend­ing that it should go to sched­ule 2 or that the leg­is­la­ture needs to address that there’s a conflict.

EDWARD MAIER: Your motion, Jim.

SUSAN FREY: It was my motion.

SHARON MEYER: We were also try­ing to think of other poten­tial deriv­a­tives that may come on the scene, that there are active uses for. And, we were going to the conun­drum of the sched­ul­ing of sched­ule 1 / sched­ule 2, the other deriv­a­tives, the fed­eral, the state. So, I feel its like as a mem­ber of the sub­com­mit­tee, that’s where we had a tough job because there is con­flict­ing code.

EDWARD MAIER: The code says cannabid­iol. So, if we change cannabid­iol, we’re fol­low­ing what the leg­is­la­ture did. The sub­com­mit­tee had already rec­om­mended sched­ule 2 anyway.

JAMES MILLER: It’s totally cor­rect. There’s no prod­uct. There’s con­flict­ing code. I think the only thing we’re doing with this rec­om­men­da­tion is sup­port­ing the cannabid­iol leg­is­la­tion that this par­tic­u­lar prod­uct has some use, pos­si­ble use in cases of epilepsy.

SUSAN FREY: So, are you offer­ing a friendly amendment?

EDWARD MAIER: No, I just wanted to clar­ify because of the ques­tion she brought up. This is a change.

SUSAN FREY: That’s where I want to see this going. If the exist­ing pro­gram, whichever is being devel­oped, we don’t know what that is, the depart­ment of pub­lic health, whether that’s going to involve, what dis­tri­b­u­tion sys­tem, we don’t know. So, I guess, putting it in sched­ule 2 makes it more read­ily avail­able if that comes to, once those plans and design is available.

EDWARD MAIER: Any other dis­cus­sion? We have a motion to resched­ule cannabid­iol to sched­ule 2. All those in favor, aye.

ALL BOARD MEMBERS: Aye.

EDWARD MAIER: Opposed? Okay, the motion is car­ried. And I would com­mend the sub­com­mit­tee. And I, when we get to the leg­is­la­tion, we need to talk about what we said. The other thing is that’s going to get lost in this is that we really felt now, twice, bod­ies of the board have said some­thing about there being a com­mit­tee of a cross sec­tion of peo­ple from mul­ti­ple dis­ci­plines that take a look at either cannabid­iol oil or mar­i­juana or what­ever it is. And, I hope that this doesn’t just get lost in the record that some­where a com­mit­tee forms and takes it seri­ously. With that, we’re going to move on.

TERRY WITKOWSKI: Ques­tion. Do you want to go … Do you want to have a rec­om­men­da­tion that the leg­is­la­ture look at the cur­rent lan­guage that talks about the board of phar­macy adopt­ing rules for med­ical? Because nei­ther of these motions really address any kind of a rec­om­men­da­tion to them regard­ing that.

EDWARD MAIER: Susan was talk­ing about that. We look at that as a piece of leg­is­la­tion that goes up. Or would that have to be a recommendation?

TERRY WITKOWSKI: If you want to pro­pose any leg­is­la­tion now, you’d have to get a leg­is­la­tor to do it because we’re beyond the dead­line for pre-filing.

SUSAN FREY: Okay.

EDWARD MAIER: I’d like to see a recommendation.

SUSAN FREY: And, refresh my mem­ory, Terry. What is it that we need to review, or to remove from …?

TERRY WITKOWSKI: There is a pro­vi­sion in sched­ule 1 that makes an excep­tion or an exemp­tion for mar­i­juana when pur­suant to rules of the board for med­ical mar­i­juana pro­gram. There’s a pro­vi­sion in sched­ule 2 that, along that same line, that says that mar­i­juana is a sched­ule 2 sub­stance pur­suant to rules of the board. So, it makes an exemp­tion out of sched­ule 1 and an excep­tion into sched­ule 2, both of them pur­suant to rules of the board for a med­ical mar­i­juana pro­gram. So, your rec­om­men­da­tion could sim­ply be to elim­i­nate those two provisions.

EDWARD MAIER: And the rea­son being that our author­ity is too nar­row to adopt the rules.

MEGHAN GAVIN: You could just remove “pur­suant to rules of the board.” That’s all you have to say.

EDWARD MAIER: In both places. Would you like to make a motion to make that recommendation?

SUSAN FREY: Okay, here goes. I move that we send a rec­om­men­da­tion to the leg­is­la­ture to remove in sched­ule 1 con­cern­ing mar­i­juana the exemp­tion … No, I mean in sched­ule 1, giv­ing the exemp­tion for a med­ical mar­i­juana pro­gram, I sug­gest we remove the word­ing “pur­suant to rules of the board of phar­macy,” or, “the board.” Okay, because the board does not have the author­ity to estab­lish a pro­gram. And, I fur­ther rec­om­mend that the excep­tion of a med­ical med­ical mar­i­juana pro­gram that we remove the wordage “pur­suant to rules of the board” for that same rea­son, that the board does not have author­ity to pub­li­cate those rules.

EDWARD MAIER: Do we have a second?

JAMES MILLER: Second.

EDWARD MAIER: Dis­cus­sion? All those in favor, aye.

ALL BOARD MEMBERS: Aye.

EDWARD MAIER: Opposed? Carried.

Posted in States | Leave a comment

My Plan

Grotesque 1

Grotesque 1

Peo­ple are always ask­ing me what my plan is, so I’m going to try to explain. I made my plan in 2006, shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court deci­sion in Gon­za­les v. Ore­gon, 546 U.S. 243 (2006). In Gon­za­les v. Ore­gon, the U.S. Supreme Court found that states make most of the med­ical deci­sion under the fed­eral con­trolled sub­stances act. The Court starts out by affirm­ing that Con­gress can pre­empt state laws on accepted med­ical prac­tice. Gon­za­les v. Ore­gon, 546 U.S. at page 271 (“Even though reg­u­la­tion of health and safety is ‘pri­mar­ily, and his­tor­i­cally, a mat­ter of local con­cern,’ there is no ques­tion that the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment can set uni­form national stan­dards in these areas”) (cita­tions omit­ted). The Court goes on to say that Con­gress has only pre­empted state pub­lic health and safety laws in one area. Gon­za­les v. Ore­gon, 546 U.S. at page 271 (“the appro­pri­ate meth­ods of pro­fes­sional prac­tice in the med­ical treat­ment of the nar­cotic addic­tion of var­i­ous classes of nar­cotic addicts”).

Grotesque 2

Grotesque 2

Hav­ing stud­ied fed­eral sched­ul­ing of con­trolled sub­stances for many years, I was aware that pre­vi­ous court rul­ings had men­tioned that Con­gress did not define the phrase “accepted med­ical use in treat­ment in the United States,” the sole con­di­tion for plac­ing a sub­stance in fed­eral sched­ule 1. Alliance for Cannabis Ther­a­peu­tics v. Drug Enforce­ment Admin­is­tra­tion (ACT v. DEA), 930 F.2d 936 at page 939 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (“The dif­fi­culty we find in peti­tion­ers’ argu­ment is that nei­ther the statute nor its leg­isla­tive his­tory pre­cisely defines the term ‘cur­rently accepted med­ical use’; there­fore, we are obliged to defer to the Administrator’s inter­pre­ta­tion of that phrase if rea­son­able”). When I read Gon­za­les v. Ore­gon, a light turned on in my head. In 1991, when ACT v. DEA was decided, there were no states that had accepted the med­ical use of mar­i­juana in treat­ment, so the DEA administrator’s inter­pre­ta­tion seemed rea­son­able at that time. The DEA admin­is­tra­tor in ACT v. DEA ruled there was a lack of con­sen­sus among med­ical experts. There were obvi­ously no state laws legal­iz­ing the med­ical use of mar­i­juana in treat­ment in 1991 for the admin­is­tra­tor to consider.

Grotesque 3

Grotesque 3

So, a plan was born. The plan is sim­ple, and this is what throws peo­ple off. Peo­ple think I’m try­ing to legal­ize mar­i­juana for recre­ational or med­ical use, both of which I sup­port. But my plan is not some detailed leg­isla­tive pro­posal to enact a state law that would still leave mar­i­juana ille­gal under fed­eral law. This is the fail­ure of state med­ical and recre­ational mar­i­juana laws; you are still a fed­eral crim­i­nal if you use mar­i­juana for any rea­son. So, my plan is sim­ply to get mar­i­juana out of sched­ule 1, both state and fed­eral. I have to start some­where, so I’m start­ing at the state level first.

Grotesque 4

Grotesque 4

Peo­ple then ask me if I’ll pro­pose recre­ational or med­ical mar­i­juana after mar­i­juana is removed from state sched­ule 1. The answer is no. I’ll pro­pose remov­ing mar­i­juana from fed­eral sched­ule 1 when mar­i­juana is removed from state sched­ule 1. It’s that sim­ple. It’s so sim­ple, it throws peo­ple off. It should not be this dif­fi­cult to under­stand, but it is for some rea­son. I sup­pose the sim­ple expla­na­tion is that we’ve had these sched­ules for 45 years and noth­ing in sched­ule 1 has ever been accepted for med­ical use by any state, except mar­i­juana. Since 1996, a total of 34 states and two fed­eral juris­dic­tions (DC and Guam) have accepted the med­ical use of mar­i­juana in treat­ment. An addi­tional 4 states have legal­ized recre­ational use since 2012. Unlike other sub­stances in sched­ule 1, mar­i­juana even had accepted med­ical use in treat­ment in the United States before these laws were writ­ten 45 years ago.

The rea­son we have 50 state drug laws is because the fed­eral drug law was never intended to be one drug law to rule them all (50 states). We have 50 state drug laws for a good rea­son. It’s because our gov­ern­ment is a dual sys­tem known as federalism.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Judge denies petition to remove marijuana from schedule 1

Des-Moines-20100822-070

Polk County Cour­t­house, Des Moines, Iowa

In pre­dictable fash­ion, Iowa dis­trict court judge Eliza Ovrom denied my peti­tion for judi­cial review in a rul­ing pub­lished on Decem­ber 10, 2014. You don’t have to read very far to get the sense the judge is read­ing her own bias into the rul­ing. She starts by accus­ing me of try­ing to clear the way for med­ical use of mar­i­juana in Iowa, which is clearly not how this law works. The law sim­ply says a sub­stance must be removed from sched­ule 1 if it has “accepted med­ical use in treat­ment in the United States.” The law says noth­ing about clear­ing the way for any­thing “in Iowa.” I tried to ham­mer that point in my legal mem­o­ran­dum, but it just didn’t pen­e­trate the judge’s pre­con­ceived notions and bias.

Judge Ovrom makes what has become a clas­sic mis­take of claim­ing that sched­ule 2 allows for med­ical use, when that is clearly false. Sched­ule 2 sub­stances can­not be pre­scribed in Iowa unless they have fed­eral FDA approval, so sim­ply mov­ing them to sched­ule 2 does not allow their med­ical use in Iowa. All it does is rec­og­nize that mar­i­juana does have accepted med­ical use in treat­ment in the Unite States. Mar­i­juana now has accepted med­ical use in treat­ment in thirty-four (34) states, includ­ing Iowa. Iowa enacted a med­ical mar­i­juana extract law ear­lier this year (with­out mov­ing mar­i­juana to sched­ule 2 — and which the chair of the Iowa Board of Phar­macy now says is a legal error). States can, and states have, accepted the med­ical use of mar­i­juana with­out mov­ing it to sched­ule 2. The only thing mov­ing mar­i­juana to sched­ule 2 actu­ally does is rec­og­nize a statu­tory con­di­tion that requires any­thing with accepted med­ical use in treat­ment in the United States be removed from sched­ule 1. So, the judge has the cart before the horse. Accepted med­ical use comes first. Remov­ing mar­i­juana from sched­ule 1 is required because of that accepted med­ical use, not the other way around. The judge would have us believe the sched­ule comes first and then the accepted use, which is impos­si­ble and can never happen.

Polk County Courthouse, Des Moines, Iowa

Polk County Cour­t­house, Des Moines, Iowa

As for my con­tri­bu­tion to this mess, I made the stu­pid mis­take of sub­mit­ting sci­en­tific stud­ies. Courts do not eval­u­ate sci­en­tific stud­ies with­out expert wit­nesses who can tes­tify as to their authen­tic­ity and mean­ing. If the only experts who looked at the evi­dence are the mem­bers of the board who denied the peti­tion, then the judge only has those experts to rely on. You can’t pos­si­bly win an appeal from a sit­u­a­tion like that. And, unless you have unlim­ited cash reserves, argu­ing sci­ence in a court room is pro­hib­i­tively expen­sive. You have to hire expert wit­nesses to inter­pret the sci­en­tific stud­ies and explain them to the judge. With­out unlim­ited cash reserves, argu­ing sci­ence is not a good strategy.

For­tu­nately, the law pro­hibits any­thing with accepted med­ical use in treat­ment in the United States from being clas­si­fied in sched­ule 1 in Iowa. How­ever, I did not stick to that argu­ment and made the stu­pid mis­take of sub­mit­ting sci­en­tific stud­ies. There’s a real les­son here, because the only time I ever won a unan­i­mous rul­ing from the board was when I filed a peti­tion with the board in 2008 that did not have any sci­en­tific stud­ies attached to it. At that time, there were twelve (12) states that had accepted the med­ical use of mar­i­juana in treat­ment in the United States and my sole argu­ment was those twelve state laws prove mar­i­juana has been accepted for med­ical use in treat­ment in the United States. I filed another peti­tion exactly like it ear­lier this year, based on thirty-four (34) states that have now accepted the med­ical use of mar­i­juana in treat­ment in the United States, and I actu­ally got a sub­com­mit­tee report on Novem­ber 19, 2014, rec­om­mend­ing the board once again grant my peti­tion. So, this demon­strates that when I peti­tion for resched­ul­ing with­out any sci­en­tific stud­ies, I always win. When I peti­tion with sci­en­tific stud­ies, I always lose. I can’t stress this enough. It’s an impor­tant les­son that we all need to learn.

Argu­ing sci­ence also sends a mes­sage that you don’t think the issue has already been resolved by thirty-four (34) state state laws. If the con­di­tion for remov­ing mar­i­juana from sched­ule 1 has been met by the enact­ment of thirty-four (34) state laws, then mar­i­juana can no longer be legally clas­si­fied as sched­ule 1 with­out any con­sid­er­a­tion of sci­en­tific stud­ies. Sub­mit­ting sci­en­tific stud­ies sends a mes­sage that there is doubt as to whether mar­i­juana actu­ally has been accepted for med­ical use in treat­ment in the United States. I hope oth­ers can now learn from the mis­take I made.

Never intro­duce evi­dence to prove a fact that has already been proven — it will con­fuse the judge.

The judge pur­posely omit­ted any men­tion of the plants in sched­ule 2 when list­ing some of the sub­stances in sched­ule 2. She listed sev­eral drugs in sched­ule 2 which are made from plants in sched­ule 2, but she never men­tions those plants, opium and coca plants. She insists that mar­i­juana must be approved as a pre­scrip­tion drug before it can be deemed to have med­ical use and removed from sched­ule 1, in spite of the fact that opium and coca plants are not pre­scrip­tion drugs. We can­not allow courts to hold mar­i­juana plants to a dif­fer­ent stan­dard than opium and coca plants. This is the rea­son the law appears to make no sense, because courts are lying about it.

The judge fails to men­tion that fed­eral sched­ule 3 does not include dron­abi­nol derived from cannabis plants (fed­eral sched­ule 3 only includes syn­thetic, not nat­ural, dron­abi­nol) and there are no ANDAs approved for it even though she claims there are approved ANDAs for it. The Iowa law clearly has nat­u­rally derived dron­abi­nol in sched­ule 3 that is not legal any­where in the United States and is cur­rently in fed­eral sched­ule 1, prov­ing beyond any doubt that down sched­ul­ing does not clear the way for med­ical use of a sub­stance in Iowa. It also proves this judge is dishonest.

I’m going to appeal from this rot­ten deci­sion, because it should not be allowed to stand.

Posted in States | 9 Comments