Wednesday, August 27, 2014, approximately 9:39 a.m.
Board members present: Susan Frey (temporary chair, licensed pharmacist), LaDonna Gratias (public member), Edward Maier (chair, licensed pharmacist), Edward McKenna (licensed pharmacist), Sharon Meyer (licensed pharmacist), Judith M. Trumpy (public member). Board member absent: James Miller (licensed pharmacist).
Susan Frey: Next up we have 4.4 and that is a petition for agency action for marijuana scheduling from Carl Olsen.
Carl Olsen: Yes.
Susan Frey: You’re here.
Carl Olsen: Are you ready?
Susan Frey: I’m ready.
Carl Olsen: Alright. My name is Carl Olsen. I would like the board to recommend the Iowa legislature remove marijuana from Schedule 1. The code sections are Iowa Code Chapter 124 Section 201 and 124.203. Under those sections the board has the authority to recommend the legislature remove marijuana from Schedule 1. I made this recommendation last year. I made this recommendation several times, this request. But, particularly last year I made this same request. At that time there were nineteen (19) states that had legalized the medical use of marijuana. As of today there are twenty-three (23). And as of this year another eleven (11) have enacted cannabis oil bills, like Iowa enacted this year, that require people to leave the state of Iowa, go to another state where they can obtain this oil, one of the states where it is authorized to produce the cannabis, and then bring it back to Iowa, which violates state and federal laws all the way through.
Removing marijuana from Schedule 1 would be an important step in a big obstacle, federal Schedule 1. The board has the authority to recommend that marijuana be removed from state Schedule 1. That would be an important first step in sending an important message to the federal government that there’s a big problem with Schedule 1 and the implementation of these state laws. We’ve got thirty-four (34) states now and last year when I was here it was only nineteen (19). So, you can see how rapidly this is moving forward. I don’t think the board can say this is not a valid concern, or that the board should not be saying, be participating in the legislative process as required by the Iowa Code.
Susan Frey: Any comments from board members? Thoughts?
And, we’re handing out an article from the Des Moines Register today, or yesterday August 26th, on the cannabis oil.
Carl Olsen: Yeah, there was a hearing held yesterday in the Iowa Department of Public Health on that.
Sharon Meyer: You would like a recommendation from the board to the schedule. Here, it’s saying the family could find an out of state supplier. It would be implemented, … Sorry, got on the wrong paragraph. It says people are frustrated by the pace of the implementation and the oil is not available. Are you saying that we need to make a statement to the legislature?
Carl Olsen: I don’t think the legislature understands the technical nature of the five (5) schedules, and I think the board does. And I think they need the assistance of the board with that particular issue. It’s obvious they want to do something. And, it’s obvious that they’ve started to move forward. But, I don’t think they understand how important to scheduling is. Schedule 1 says no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and that is just not the case. It has accepted medical use in thirty-four (34) states. Why the federal government hasn’t moved it out of Schedule 1 I can’t say. But this board recommended it be removed from state schedule 1 in 2010. And, I think the board should continue to stand behind that and not let the legislature think that you’ve changed your mind, or that you’re not interested anymore, or … I’ve heard that comment from legislators, like, “What’s happened with the board of pharmacy? Why are they backing out on this?” So, I think there’s real damage there.
Ed Maier: Madam chair, this is Ed. I think a couple of us that looked through this in 2010, I think this is important enough, if we can, I think we should maybe somehow discuss, whether we appoint a committee, or send it to rules committee to talk about, or whatever, for some recommendations, and talk. I think it’s important, whatever we do, that we have a solid cut message that the people understand. Last time, we were totally misunderstood, exactly what was happening. I don’t know that, I guess I might recommend that we somehow study this and that we take it up at the next meeting if that’s possible.
Susan Frey: Well, you’ve been… I was not aware of the recent hearing. I guess I would like to, you know, look at some of that information and incorporate that. I think, you know, I would certainly be willing to establish a study group.
Carl Olsen: I participated in that hearing yesterday and they said they would give me all, everything that was submitted, and a recording of the hearing and all of that.
Terry Witkowski: Just to clarify, that hearing was their proposed rules.
Carl Olsen: Yeah.
Terry Witkowski: for the cannabidiol program, correct?
Carl Olsen: Right. And there were a lot of comments that weren’t… didn’t stay confined to that and they kept saying you’ll have to talk to the legislators about. But, anyway, it was all…
Susan Frey: And, I mean… If they’re talking about rules, that will set a precedent also, so I think that’s probably something that we need to, you know, look into a little deeper, further. So, I would entertain a motion to form a…
Terry Witkowski: You want to refer it to a committtee, or form a separate committee?
Susan Frey: Well, Ed suggested… Ed, do you want to go to rules committee with that or do you want a separate committee?
Ed Maier: You know, I’m not sure. I don’t know where the rules committee is now. I know that they have a considerable amount of work that they’re doing on legislation and other things, so I might defer to somebody on the rules committee as to whether they would prefer that. Or, do we prefer a separate committee that would take a look at all of the new things that have happened and try to make some sort of recommendation>
Terry Witkowski: Do you anticipate having something ready to present a legislative proposal this year? Because the deadline for that is the end of November.
Ed Maier: The end of November?
Terry Witkowski: Yes. Really by Thanksgiving we have to have it submitted. It would have to go to, you’d have to have a legislator to present it.
Ed Maier: So, Terry, if we were to defer it and take action one way or the other at our next meeting, would that be too late? Or, is that pushing it?
Terry Witkowski: You could, if we had a proposal ready for the next board meeting, that would be timely.
Ed Maier: Okay. I think that’s probably what we need to do. Either rules,… Rules is really, really busy, and I know they have been, but, you know, maybe a separate committee, a small committee that could take a look at this stuff and then get together and just decide on a recommendation.
Ed McKenna: Being on the rules committee I would probably agree with Ed that we should have a separate committee and get more input from other people.
Susan Frey: I would agree.
Ed McKenna: I know we have a lot of separate committees, but…
Susan Frey: Okay, well…
Terry Witkowski: Ed, did you want to be on that committee? Or, chair that committee?
Ed Maier: Let me…
Terry Witkowski: You have the history, so I’m thinking that that might be, you know, it would be a good thing to have somebody with that…
Ed Maier: Yes, Yeah, I would do that.
Terry Witkowski: You can read all the cases you want this weekend.
Ed Maier: You got it Terry.
Lloyd Jessen: Why don’t we have a motion then to form a committee with Ed as chair and then I’ll work with Ed so,…
Ed Maier: There you go. We’ll work together to put a committee together here and get it taken care of.
Terry Witkowski: Ask the board members to see if anybody’s interested, too.
Lloyd Jessen: Yeah, we can do that.
Sharon Meyer: So moved.
Susan Frey: Okay, it’s been moved. Do I have a second?
Ed McKenna: Second.
Susan Frey: Okay, it’s been moved and seconded to form a committee to review the petition on agency action for marijuana scheduling with a, to bring it back at our November meeting. All of those in favor say aye. Want a role call vote?
Ed Maier: Maier, aye.
LaDonna Gratias: Gratias, aye.
Ed McKenna: Aye.
Sharon Meyer: Meyer, aye.
Judith M. Trumpy: Trumpy, aye.
Susan Frey: Frey, aye. All those opposed? Motion carries.
Carl Olsen: Well, I have to get back to work, but thank you all. You guys are awesome. I’ll see you later.