Ankeny Legislative Forum April 9 2016

Rep. Kevin Koester

Rep. Kevin Koester

I live in an inter­est­ing Iowa House dis­trict. My state rep­re­sen­ta­tive is a Repub­li­can. His name is Kevin Keoster and his pro­fes­sion is school admin­is­tra­tion. Anoth­er inter­est­ing char­ac­ter who lives in our neigh­bor­hood is Dale Wool­ery, Deputy Direc­tor of the Office of Drug Con­trol Pol­i­cy. As you can imag­ine, Kevin and Dale know each oth­er and have worked togeth­er in the past.

Last week I got an email from Kevin say­ing that he was going to meet with the med­ical staff at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Iowa to fol­low up on the study that was called for in the 2014 Med­ical Cannabid­i­ol Act. He said he might have some ques­tions after that meet­ing. I didn’t hear from him and I was busy writ­ing my tri­al brief which was due on Fri­day.

At our leg­isla­tive forum yes­ter­day, I asked Kevin how his meet­ing went with the med­ical staff. He said it sound­ed pos­i­tive for CBD and epilep­sy, which of course was the only thing the 2014 Med­ical Cannabid­i­ol Act asked the Uni­ver­si­ty of Iowa to look at. Nev­er­the­less, I was glad to hear the results were pos­i­tive.

There were three cou­ples there sup­port­ing med­ical mar­i­jua­na. Two of them spoke and said they had Crohns Dis­ease and won­dered why Crohns Dis­ease had been stripped from the bill that is cur­rent­ly pend­ing, HF 2384. Kevin said that leg­is­la­tors were hav­ing a hard time under­stand­ing the sci­ence. The cou­ple asked him what kind of sci­ence he was look­ing for, because they had it. Kevin said he would not under­stand it if he saw it.

I’ve been fol­low­ing this in the news a lot, and it seems like every leg­is­la­tor in Iowa says they sup­port mov­ing for­ward on this issue, but none of them can agree on what to do.

After the forum, I met anoth­er cou­ple that had con­tact­ed me ear­li­er in the week and were just there to lis­ten. Anoth­er cou­ple was talk­ing to Kevin and they had a med­ical con­di­tion (I can’t remem­ber if it was a child with epilep­sy). A man sit­ting next to me said he knew one of the patients that spoke at the capi­tol on March 22, 2016. I’m amazed at how many peo­ple are express­ing sup­port for med­ical mar­i­jua­na at these forums.

Kevin told the cou­ple talk­ing to him that I had sin­gle hand­ed­ly pre­sent­ed this issue to the Iowa Board of Phar­ma­cy in 2009 and the board agreed it was med­i­cine. I told Kevin that we pre­sent­ed evi­dence to the Iowa Board of Phar­ma­cy in 2009 because the law says that board is the author­i­ty in Iowa, but the leg­is­la­tors would not lis­ten. So, that is why the leg­is­la­tors don’t under­stand the sci­ence now. When the board looked at it, as they are required by law to do, the leg­is­la­tors did not want to hear it. So, now med­ical deci­sions are being made by leg­is­la­tors who can’t agree on what to do. Oh my!

I asked Kevin if he could send me any­thing from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Iowa pre­sen­ta­tion ear­li­er in the week and he sent me these two files. The first one is the slide pre­sen­ta­tion Dr. Joshi pre­sent­ed to the Iowa House leg­is­la­tors last week. The sec­ond one is a pre­sen­ta­tion by Dale Wool­ery of the Office of Drug Con­trol Pol­i­cy.

Stay tuned for fur­ther devel­op­ments on this sto­ry.
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The Marijuana Scheduling Story

Jon Gettman

Jon Gettman

Jon Gettman wrote an arti­cle in High Times Mag­a­zine by the title Pot Mat­ters: The Resched­ul­ing Trap, on Mon­day, Feb­ru­ary 29, 2016, detail­ing his attempts to have mar­i­jua­na fed­er­al­ly resched­uled. I was a peti­tion­er in Mr. Gettman’s most recent attempt to have mar­i­jua­na resched­uled, and I will share my per­spec­tive.

The trap Mr. Gettman refers to is known in tech­ni­cal legal jar­gon as the ratio­nal basis test[1]. What that means is the expert deci­sion of the admin­is­tra­tive agency charged with keep­ing marijuana’s clas­si­fi­ca­tion cur­rent will not be over­turned by a court if the deci­sion is ratio­nal. Mr. Gettman argued that the clas­si­fi­ca­tion was not ratio­nal. Like many before him and many after him, Mr. Gettman’s argu­ment was reject­ed. It’s an argu­ment that is guar­an­teed to fail. If Mr. Gettman wants to call that a trap, so be it. The out­come was pre­dictable.

Judges are not med­ical experts and dif­fer­ences of opin­ion between med­ical experts on marijuana’s med­ical use are sim­ply resolved in favor of the sta­tus quo. To win the ratio­nal basis argu­ment the wit­ness­es would have to be in total agree­ment[2].

The 1972 Rescheduling Petition

I was a peti­tion­er in the mar­i­jua­na resched­ul­ing peti­tion filed by NORML in 1972. I joined the NORML peti­tion in 1985. The peti­tion was grant­ed by the DEA’s Chief Admin­is­tra­tive Law Judge, Fran­cis L. Young, in 1988[3]. The admin­is­tra­tive law judge’s rul­ing was over­ruled by the DEA Admin­is­tra­tor cit­ing a dif­fer­ence of opin­ion among med­ical experts[4]. The appeal court applied the “ratio­nal basis” analy­sis and upheld the administrator’s denial of the admin­is­tra­tive law judge’s rul­ing cit­ing a dif­fer­ence in opin­ion among the expert wit­ness­es.

My 1983 Rescheduling Petition

I filed a peti­tion with the DEA in 1983 ask­ing for an exemp­tion from fed­er­al sched­ul­ing for the Ethiopi­an Zion Cop­tic Church, sim­i­lar to the one that exists for the sacra­men­tal use of pey­ote by the Native Amer­i­can Church[5]. The Ethiopi­an Zion Cop­tic Church is a Rasta­far­i­an church incor­po­rat­ed in Jamaica in 1976 that uses cannabis as it’s sacra­ment[6]. My request was denied, but the court specif­i­cal­ly said I had Arti­cle III (U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion) stand­ing to access the fed­er­al courts[7].

In 1990, the Unit­ed States Supreme Court reject­ed my request by refus­ing to rec­og­nize a fed­er­al exemp­tion for the sacra­men­tal use of pey­ote[8]. This rul­ing was lat­er over­turned by Con­gress[9]. How­ev­er, the court had the last word and over­ruled Con­gress[10]. So, the end result is that state law trumps a fed­er­al reg­u­la­tion as long as the state law is neu­tral toward reli­gion and gen­er­al­ly applic­a­ble (hold that thought of state law being of greater author­i­ty than a fed­er­al reg­u­la­tion, because I’m going to come back to it again lat­er).

My 1992 Rescheduling Petition

I filed a peti­tion with the DEA in 1992 argu­ing that THC had been resched­uled to fed­er­al sched­ule 2 in 1986 and inter­na­tion­al­ly in 1991. I argued the plant THC comes from should be sched­uled no high­er than the prin­ci­ple psy­choac­tive ingre­di­ent in the plant. My peti­tion was denied because THC was being man­u­fac­tured syn­thet­i­cal­ly and mar­i­jua­na was not used to make it[11].

While my appeal was pend­ing in the fed­er­al courts, my attor­ney start­ed a class action based on the ratio­nal basis argu­ment that failed to make it out of fed­er­al dis­trict court in Penn­syl­va­nia[12].

Gettman’s 1995 Rescheduling Petition

Dr. Gettman and High Times Mag­a­zine filed their first peti­tion to resched­ule mar­i­jua­na in 1995. When they tried to appeal from the denial of their request, the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals said they did not have stand­ing to access fed­er­al courts[13]. Stand­ing is a legal term that means a con­crete injury. The court ruled that because Dr. Gettman and High Times were mere­ly advo­cates, they did not have the direct injury required to have Arti­cle III (U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion) stand­ing to access the fed­er­al courts.

Gettman’s 2002 Rescheduling Petition

Dr. Gettman filed anoth­er resched­ul­ing peti­tion in 2002 and asked me and sev­er­al oth­ers, includ­ing Amer­i­cans for Safe Access (ASA) and the Nation­al Orga­ni­za­tion for the Reform of Mar­i­jua­na Laws (NORML), to join as co-peti­tion­ers. Dr. Gettman told me the resched­ul­ing peti­tions I filed in 1983 and 1992 inspired him to file his own resched­ul­ing peti­tions and he want­ed to include me.

My 2008 Rescheduling Petition

I want to come back now to that thought I told you to hold about state laws super­sed­ing fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions. In 2006 the Unit­ed States Supreme Court ruled that state laws defin­ing med­ical use of con­trolled sub­stances to assist in sui­cide were law­ful because the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment does not have the author­i­ty to pre­empt them using fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions[14]. I spoke to Mr. Gettman about this and sug­gest­ed that we amend our peti­tion to include this argu­ment, because there were 8 states that had accept­ed the med­ical use of mar­i­jua­na in 2002 and sev­er­al more by 2006. Mr. Gettman said he did not want to amend the peti­tion and that we were going to win based on sci­ence (the ratio­nal basis argu­ment).

So, in 2008 I filed a peti­tion to resched­ule mar­i­jua­na with the Iowa Board of Phar­ma­cy and the only evi­dence I pre­sent­ed was 12 state laws accept­ing the med­ical use of mar­i­jua­na. I said this was accept­ed med­ical use in the Unit­ed States. Iowa law says mar­i­jua­na must con­tin­ue to have no accept­ed med­ical use in the Unit­ed States, just like fed­er­al law, so I argued the accept­ed med­ical use of mar­i­jua­na in oth­er states was proof that mar­i­jua­na is incor­rect­ly clas­si­fied under both state and fed­er­al law. Fed­er­al sched­ul­ing is done by reg­u­la­tion, not by statute, so I argued state laws super­sede fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions and Iowa law refers to oth­er laws in oth­er states (because Iowa gets that phrase from fed­er­al sched­ul­ing).

The board denied my peti­tion with­out rul­ing on my argu­ment, but an Iowa Dis­trict Court remand­ed the case and ordered them to rule on my argu­ment[15]. The board then ruled unan­i­mous­ly in 2010 that mar­i­jua­na is med­i­cine and should be removed from sched­ule 1. I con­tact­ed Mr. Gettman again and showed him my results. Mr. Gettman still refused to amend our peti­tion, say­ing he was going to win on sci­ence (the ratio­nal basis argu­ment). I then noti­fied all of the par­ties and the DEA that I was with­draw­ing from the oth­er peti­tion­ers and inter­ven­ing sep­a­rate­ly on my own.

The Rest of the Story

In 2011, the DEA reject­ed Mr. Gettman’s peti­tion cit­ing a dif­fer­ence in expert med­ical opin­ion, and in 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals reject­ed Mr. Gettman’s peti­tion cit­ing a ratio­nal basis based on con­flict­ing expert tes­ti­mo­ny[16]. The Court did not rule on my argu­ment, but sim­ply said I had a reli­gious inter­est in mar­i­jua­na. The dis­sent­ing judge said my argu­ment was fed­er­al­ism and that was not the argu­ment the oth­er peti­tion­ers were mak­ing.

The most iron­ic part of the case was that the peti­tion­ers almost failed to show stand­ing. They failed to show stand­ing in their open­ing appeal brief, and failed again to show stand­ing in their reply brief. At the oral argu­ment, one of the peti­tion­ers who said he was being denied Vet­er­ans Admin­is­tra­tion ben­e­fits in Vir­ginia (a state that did not allow med­ical use of mar­i­jua­na) said that he lived in Ore­gon part of the year and pos­sessed an Ore­gon med­ical mar­i­jua­na card. The court asked for sup­ple­men­tal briefs and affi­davits on stand­ing and then gave the peti­tion­er stand­ing to lose the case on the mer­its because of the ratio­nal basis analy­sis. It’s iron­ic, because that was my argu­ment. State laws mat­ter.

So, Mr. Gettman’s warn­ing should sim­ply be don’t do what he did. There is an argu­ment for resched­ul­ing, but it’s not the one he made.

[1] Amer­i­cans for Safe Access v. DEA, 706 F.3d 438 (D.C. Cir. 2013); Amer­i­cans for Safe Access v. DEA, 134 S. Ct. 267, 187 L. Ed. 2d 151 (U.S., 2013); Olsen v. DEA, 134 S. Ct. 673, 187 L. Ed. 2d 422 (U.S., 2013).

[2] See, Unit­ed States v. Pickard, 100 F. Supp. 3d 981 (E.D. Cal., Apr. 17, 2015).

[3] DEA Dock­et No. 86–22, Sept. 6, 1988.

[4] Alliance for Cannabis Ther­a­peu­tics v. DEA, 930 F.2d 936, 289 U.S. App. D.C. 214 (1991); 15 F.3d 1131, 304 U.S. App. D.C. 400 (1994).

[5] 21 C.F.R. § 1307.31.

[6] Olsen v. DEA, 279 U.S. App. D.C. 1, 878 F.2d 1458 (1989); Olsen v. DEA, 495 U.S. 906, 110 S. Ct. 1926, 109 L. Ed. 2d 290 (1990); See, Town v. State ex rel. Reno, 377 So.2d 648 (Fla. 1979) (“the Ethiopi­an Zion Cop­tic Church rep­re­sents a reli­gion with­in the first amend­ment to the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States, the use of cannabis is an essen­tial por­tion of the reli­gious prac­tice, the Ethiopi­an Zion Cop­tic Church is not a new church or reli­gion but the record reflects it is cen­turies old and has reg­u­lar­ly used cannabis as its sacra­ment”).

[7] Olsen v. DEA, 878 F.2d 1458 (D.C. Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 495 U.S. 906 (1990). The Court of Appeals found: “Olsen is a mem­ber and priest of the Ethiopi­an Zion Cop­tic Church,” 878 F.2d at 1459, “the Ethiopi­an Zion Cop­tic Church is a bona fide reli­gion with mar­i­jua­na as its sacra­ment” 878 F.2d at 1460, and “even if the DEA were not empow­ered or oblig­ed to act, Olsen would be enti­tled to a judi­cial audi­ence” 878 F.2d at 1461.

[8] Employ­ment Divi­sion v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990).

[9] Reli­gious Free­dom Restora­tion Act of 1993 (RFRA), Pub­lic Law 103–141, 187 Stat. 1488, Nov. 16, 1993.

[10] Boerne v. Flo­res, 521 U.S. 507 (1997).

[11] 1996 U.S. App. LEXIS 30353; Olsen v. DEA, 519 U.S. 1118, 117 S. Ct. 964, 136 L. Ed. 2d 849 (1997).

[12] Kuromiya v. Unit­ed States, 37 F. Supp. 2d 717, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2627 (E.D. Pa., 1999); Kuromiya v. Unit­ed States, 78 F. Supp. 2d 367, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18297 (E.D. Pa., 1999).

[13] Gettman v. DEA, 290 F.3d 430 (D.C. Cir. 2002).

[14] Gon­za­les v. Ore­gon, 546 U.S 243 (2006).

[15] McMa­hon v. Iowa Board of Phar­ma­cy, No. CV7415 (Iowa Dis­trict Court, Polk Coun­ty, April 21, 2009). I filed the peti­tion and McMa­hon inter­vened in it. McMa­hon filed the appeal and I inter­vened in it. McMa­hon was rep­re­sent­ed by the ACLU of Iowa, and I rep­re­sent­ed myself.

[16] See foot­note 1.

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Massacre at the Iowa Statehouse

Sally Gaer speaks at the Press Conference

Sal­ly Gaer speaks at the Press Con­fer­ence

I spent some time at the State Capi­tol this week attend­ing a press con­fer­ence for House Study Bill 607 on Feb­ru­ary 9 and a sub­com­mit­tee hear­ing on the bill on Feb­ru­ary 17.

Bob Vander Plaats speaks at the Press Conference

Bob Van­der Plaats speaks at the Press Con­fer­ence

Peter Cownie speaks at the Press Conference

Peter Cown­ie speaks at the Press Con­fer­ence

Rep. John Forbes, Rep. Guy Vander Linden, and Rep. Zach Nunn

Rep. John Forbes, Rep. Guy Van­der Lin­den, and Rep. Zach Nunn

I took a few pic­tures and made an audio record­ing of the hear­ing, but I for­got to turn on the record­ing device for the first ten min­utes. The audio record­ing picks up about half way through the first wit­ness, Dr. David Drake.

The hear­ing was bru­tal. The bill that was sup­posed to be on the table was House Study Bill 607, but at the begin­ning of the hear­ing they announced it has been switched for sub­sti­tute amend­ed ver­sion. I did not get a copy of the sub­sti­tute amend­ed ver­sion until the next day. They were hand­ing some­thing out at the hear­ing which could have been a print­ed copy of the sub­sti­tute amend­ed ver­sion, but peo­ple came pre­pared to speak on a bill that was no longer on the table and that was the most sav­age thing I’ve ever seen. The orig­i­nal bill includ­ed sev­er­al med­ical con­di­tions and the sub­sti­tute amend­ed ver­sion only had three. So, peo­ple were there who actu­al­ly had ill­ness­es that were removed from the bill while they were sit­ting there wait­ing to give their tes­ti­mo­ny. Sev­er­al peo­ple had com­plete emo­tion­al break­downs. It was not pret­ty. After this gris­ley affair, the sub­com­mit­tee vot­ed on the sub­sti­tute amend­ed ver­sion favor­ably by a vote of 3–0 and sent it to House Com­mit­tee on Com­merce which then vot­ed favor­ably on it by a vote of 17–6.

Of par­tic­u­lar inter­est to me, the resched­ul­ing of the mar­i­jua­na plant was removed from the sub­sti­tute amend­ed ver­sion. Also, of par­tic­u­lar inter­est to me were the objec­tions from Chip Bal­ti­more, chair of the House Com­mit­tee on Judi­cia­ry. Rep. Bal­ti­more object­ed to the bill because it does not com­ply with fed­er­al sched­ul­ing. The sub­sti­tute amend­ed ver­sion removed resched­ul­ing so it is now com­plete­ly incon­sis­tent with fed­er­al sched­ul­ing. It seems stu­pid to remove resched­ul­ing, but so does get­ting sick peo­ple to fill a room and tes­ti­fy under false pre­tens­es. I hope the pho­to op was worth tor­tur­ing those peo­ple.

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New Bipartisan Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Act Filed

hf2097

Iowa rep­re­sen­ta­tives Tedd Gassman, Lar­ry Sheets, Ron Jor­gensen, Char­lie McConkey, Scott Ourth, and Mary Lynn Wolfe

A new bipar­ti­san med­ical cannabid­i­ol act has been filed in the Iowa House, HF 2097, by three Iowa House Repub­li­cans, Tedd Gassman (R. Scarville), Lar­ry Sheets (R. Moul­ton), Ron Jor­gensen (R. Sioux City), and three Iowa House Democ­rats, Char­lie McConkey (D. Coun­cil Bluffs), Scott Ourth (D. Ack­worth), and Mary Lynn Wolfe (D. Clin­ton).

As many of us know, Iowa cre­at­ed a Med­ical Cannabid­i­ol Act in 2014. Cannabid­i­ol has got­ten a lot of atten­tion recent­ly, includ­ing a U.S. Sen­ate Cau­cus on Inter­na­tion­al Nar­cotics Con­trol hear­ing co-chaired by Iowa Sen­a­tor Charles Grass­ley and Cal­i­for­nia Sen­a­tor Diane Fein­stein in 2015. Cannabid­i­ol (“cannabis oil”) was includ­ed in the Iowa Repub­li­can Par­ty state plat­form in 2014.

As crit­ics have point­ed out, there are two prob­lems with the Med­ical Cannabid­i­ol Act. First, it expires on July 1, 2017. Sec­ond, it does not pro­vide any means of access. Pro­po­nents have called it a decrim­i­nal­iza­tion bill, but exam­ples of decrim­i­nal­iza­tion bills that require a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from a spe­cial­ist in neu­rol­o­gy and an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card from the Iowa Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health are just impos­si­ble to find. This law uses the word “med­ical” which just doesn’t make any sense. Decrim­i­nal­iza­tion means it’s still a crime and we’re just reduc­ing the penal­ties or pro­vid­ing an exemp­tion. Legal­iza­tion is the term we use for things that are not crimes. It would be hard to imag­ine that we are now using the word “med­ical” to describe some­thing we are only decrim­i­nal­iz­ing. If we con­tin­ue down this path, we’re going to ren­der lan­guage mean­ing­less. Of course, this law could have been inten­tion­al­ly writ­ten poor­ly to invoke exact­ly these kinds of objec­tions, so there may be a method to the legislature’s mad­ness.

Dis­cus­sions were held by the leg­is­la­ture in 2014 and one of the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Cannabid­i­ol Imple­men­ta­tion Study Com­mit­tee on Sep­tem­ber 11, 2014, was to grow the cannabis to make the cannabid­i­ol, which would have solved the prob­lem of lack of access. The three rec­om­men­da­tions were:

  • Devel­op a reg­u­lat­ed pro­gram to pro­duce, process, and dis­pense med­ical cannabis and fur­ther rec­om­mend that med­ical cannabis not be taxed by the state at any stage of pro­duc­ing, pro­cess­ing, or dis­pens­ing the med­ical cannabis.
  • Resched­ule mar­i­jua­na from a sched­ule I con­trolled sub­stance to a sched­ule II con­trolled sub­stance.
  • Fur­ther inves­ti­gate access, stan­dard­iza­tion, and legal­iza­tion of cannabid­i­ol.

My last blog post on Jan­u­ary 23, 2016, Iowa Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors File Mar­i­jua­na Reclas­si­fi­ca­tion Bill, explained how the Iowa Sen­ate has been try­ing to change the clas­si­fi­ca­tion of mar­i­jua­na. Repub­li­cans in the Iowa Sen­ate have a straight for­ward approach, fil­ing a stand-alone mar­i­jua­na resched­ul­ing bill (SF 2025). Democ­rats in the Iowa Sen­ate, on the oth­er hand, have tried to attach mar­i­jua­na resched­ul­ing to a med­ical mar­i­jua­na bill that doesn’t have strong Repub­li­can sup­port in the Iowa House (SF 484) and a syn­thet­ic mar­i­jua­na bill that had strong sup­port in the Iowa House (HF 567) until the Iowa Sen­ate Democ­rats attached a mar­i­jua­na resched­ul­ing amend­ment to it. Both SF 484 and HF 567 seem dead now. Iowa Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bruce Hunter has recent­ly filed a bill sim­i­lar to SF 484, but with­out mar­i­jua­na resched­ul­ing (HF 2087). Anoth­er syn­thet­ic mar­i­jua­na bill with­out mar­i­jua­na resched­ul­ing has been filed in the Iowa House (HF 2049) to replace HF 567.

There is a good rea­son why SF 2025 is the best approach to mar­i­jua­na sched­ul­ing in Iowa. When our law was writ­ten in 1971, the leg­is­la­ture real­ized it did not have the exper­tise to sched­ule con­trolled sub­stances and they gave the respon­si­bil­i­ty of rec­om­mend­ing an appro­pri­ate sched­ule to the Iowa Board of Phar­ma­cy. State v. Bon­jour, 694 N.W.2d 511, 514 (Iowa 2005) (“That pro­ce­dure is to defer to the Board of Phar­ma­cy Exam­in­ers, which is far bet­ter equipped than this court — and the leg­is­la­ture, for that mat­ter — to make crit­i­cal deci­sions regard­ing the med­ical effec­tive­ness of mar­i­jua­na use and the con­di­tions, if any, it may be used to treat.”). In 2010, the Iowa Board of Phar­ma­cy rec­om­mend­ed that mar­i­jua­na be resched­uled from a sched­ule 1 con­trolled sub­stance to a sched­ule 2 con­trolled sub­stance in Iowa. Repub­li­cans are fol­low­ing the law. I don’t want to be too crit­i­cal of the Democ­rats, because they have tried to attach mar­i­jua­na resched­ul­ing to oth­er bills as amend­ments. But, the Repub­li­cans work­ing on this issue are def­i­nite­ly fol­low­ing the let­ter of the law.

So, you might ask, what does HF 2097 have to do with any of this? HF 2097 does three things.

  • It makes the Med­ical Cannabid­i­ol Act per­ma­nent by remov­ing the July 1, 2017, expi­ra­tion date.
  • It replaces the word “neu­rol­o­gist” with the word “physi­cian” which makes it eas­i­er to find a doc­tor to make the rec­om­men­da­tion.
  • It replaces the word “epilep­sy” with the phrase “debil­i­tat­ing med­ical con­di­tion” and adds two more med­ical con­di­tions.

What HF 2097 does not do is pro­vide access to cannabid­i­ol. It will still be ille­gal to make it or dis­trib­ute it. It also has no mech­a­nism for the Iowa Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health to add more med­ical con­di­tions. Although these are seri­ous prob­lems, this is def­i­nite­ly an improve­ment over the 2014 ver­sion. Pos­ses­sion, man­u­fac­ture, and dis­tri­b­u­tion of cannabid­i­ol are fed­er­al crimes, but it’s fair­ly estab­lished by now that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is not pros­e­cut­ing patients or doc­tors who rec­om­mend cannabid­i­ol (and whole cannabis in some states). This pro­pos­al would be anoth­er step in the right direc­tion.

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Iowa Republican Senators File Marijuana Reclassification Bill

sf2025

Iowa sen­a­tors Mark Chel­gren, Charles Schnei­der, Jason Schultz, Steven Sod­ders, Wal­ly Horn, and Joe Bolk­com

Three Iowa Repub­li­can sen­a­tors, Charles Schnei­der, Mark Chel­gren, and Jason Schultz, have filed a stand alone mar­i­jua­na reclas­si­fi­ca­tion bill in the Iowa Sen­ate, SF 2025, this week. Two pre­vi­ous bills, SSB 1205 and SF 282, that would do the same thing were filed sep­a­rate­ly by two Iowa Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tors, Steven Sod­ders and Joe Bolk­com, in 2015.

The Iowa Med­ical Cannabis Act, SF 484, bare­ly squeaked through last year on a heav­i­ly par­ti­san vote (26 to 19, with one Repub­li­can and one Demo­c­rat cross­ing par­ty lines), but it was amend­ed on April 15, 2015, with an amend­ment, S-3123, that would reclas­si­fy mar­i­jua­na. That amend­ment passed by a vote of 44–0-6. So, you can see there is some momen­tum for reclas­si­fy­ing mar­i­jua­na in Iowa.

I am extreme­ly encour­aged that Repub­li­cans are now bring­ing some com­mon sense to the table. Reclas­si­fy­ing mar­i­jua­na does not make it legal for any­thing. It would take both state and fed­er­al reclas­si­fi­ca­tion of mar­i­jua­na to make research eas­i­er, but state reclas­si­fi­ca­tion is a step in the right direc­tion. Reclas­si­fi­ca­tion does not oblig­ate the state to do any­thing fur­ther, so it should not be a dif­fi­cult issue.

SF 2025 is cur­rent­ly pend­ing in the Iowa Sen­ate Com­mit­tee on Judi­cia­ry, and has been assigned to a sub­com­mit­tee con­sist­ing of sen­a­tor Charles Schnei­der, Steven Sod­ders, and Wal­ly Horn. Please let them know you sup­port this bill.

Posted in States | 8 Comments

Iowa Board of Pharmacy Open Records Request 2015

This is an update to my two pre­vi­ous arti­cles:

On Jan­u­ary 14, 2015, the Office of Drug Con­trol Pol­i­cy (ODCP) made changes to the Iowa Board of Phar­ma­cy (IBPE) leg­isla­tive pro­pos­al for 2015, with­out noti­fy­ing me.

Rul­ing to Main­tain Mar­i­jua­na in Sched­ule 1 Jan­u­ary 5, 2015: Rul­ing on Mar­i­jua­na 45 KB
Rul­ing to Trans­fer Cannabid­i­ol to Sched­ule 2 Jan­u­ary 5, 2015: Rul­ing on Cannabid­i­ol 48 KB
Min­utes from the Jan­u­ary 5–6 Meet­ing Jan­u­ary 10, 2015: IBPE Meet­ing Min­utes 5,568 KB
Email to Carl Olsen and ODCP with the 2 Rul­ings Jan­u­ary 14, 2015: Email to Carl Olsen and ODCP 65 KB
Email to ODCP with the Revised Cannabid­i­ol Rul­ing Jan­u­ary 14, 2015: Email to ODCP 146 KB
Revised Rul­ing on Cannabid­i­ol Jan­u­ary 14, 2015: Revised Rul­ing on Cannabid­i­ol 50 KB

Not only was I not noti­fied, the Jan­u­ary 10, 2015, meet­ing min­utes were altered with­out any doc­u­men­ta­tion not­ing the change or who autho­rized it. You can see the sub­sti­tut­ed rul­ing attached to those min­utes, which are still signed and dat­ed on Jan­u­ary 10, 2015. These changes were not sig­nif­i­cant, as far as my peti­tion is con­cerned, but it does show a com­plete dis­re­gard for due process. The Office of Drug Con­trol Pol­i­cy got a copy of the changed rul­ing on my peti­tion, but the cour­tesy was not extend­ed by send­ing me a copy of the changed rul­ing when they made the changes to it.

But, the pur­pose of my open records request was not to uncov­er chi­canery. I want­ed to know what hap­pened to the cannabid­i­ol pro­pos­al. Was the gov­er­nor noti­fied? Was the leg­is­la­ture noti­fied? The typ­i­cal process the Iowa Board of Phar­ma­cy fol­lows is to pre­file a bill before the leg­isla­tive ses­sion begins, which they did in 2012, 2014, and 2015 and are doing now for 2016. Iowa Code § 2.16 allows state agen­cies to pre­file leg­is­la­tion 45 days in advance of a ses­sion. Cannabid­i­ol is not in the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion for 2015 or 2016, so what hap­pened to it?

Senator Steven J. Sodders

Sen­a­tor Steven J. Sod­ders

So, we’ve estab­lished through this open records request that the usu­al process used to noti­fy the leg­is­la­ture did not take place. On Jan­u­ary 16, 2015, Sen­a­tor Steven Sod­ders invit­ed the exec­u­tive direc­tor of the phar­ma­cy board to attend the hear­ing on his pro­pos­al (SSB1005) to trans­fer mar­i­jua­na from sched­ule 1 to sched­ule 2. Remem­ber now, the board just vot­ed against this on Jan­u­ary 5, 2015. But, the board actu­al­ly did vote to trans­fer mar­i­jua­na from sched­ule 1 to sched­ule 2 in 2010. Can you say mixed sig­nals?

Invi­ta­tion to Hear­ing on SSB1005 Jan­u­ary 16, 2015: Invi­ta­tion to Hear­ing on SSB1005 50 KB
Can­cel­la­tion of Hear­ing on SSB1005 Jan­u­ary 20, 2015: Can­cel­la­tion of Hear­ing on SSB1005 15 KB

The last entry for SSB1005 is Jan­u­ary 14, 2015. The pro­posed meet­ing on Jan­u­ary 20, 2015, nev­er took place.

How­ev­er, this was not the end of it. Toward the end of the leg­isla­tive ses­sion, the Democ­rats decid­ed to get aggres­sive and intro­duced a med­ical mar­i­jua­na bill. In prepa­ra­tion, the phar­ma­cy board was again invit­ed to par­tic­pate. The exec­u­tive direc­tor of the phar­ma­cy board resigned sud­den­ly and unex­pect­ed­ly at the end of March 2015. So, the inter­im direc­tor, Ter­ry Witkows­ki, pro­vid­ed input to the Repub­li­can Cau­cus Staff. I’m guess­ing this is because Sen­a­tor Charles Schnei­der sent me an email on April 19, 2015, remind­ing me that he vot­ed in favor of trans­fer­ring mar­i­jua­na from sched­ule 1 to sched­ule 2 at the inter­im study com­mit­tee hear­ing on Sep­tem­ber 11, 2014.

Email from Ter­ry Witkows­ki to Josh Bron­sink April 7, 2015: Email to Repub­li­can Cau­cus Staff 438 KB
Attach­ment #1 Jan­u­ary 14, 2015, Rec­om­men­da­tion from the Phar­ma­cy Board 341 KB
Attach­ment #2 Feb­ru­ary 17, 2010, Rec­om­men­da­tion from the Phar­ma­cy Board 9 KB
Attach­ment #3 Feb­ru­ary 17, 2010, Min­utes from the Phar­ma­cy Board 95 KB

On April 14, 2015, Sen­a­tor Sod­ders filed an amend­ment to SF 484, which would trans­fer mar­i­jua­na from sched­ule 1 to sched­ule 2, S-3123. All of the Repub­li­cans in atten­dance on April 15, 2015, vot­ed in favor of S-3123 by a vote of 44–0-6, but then vot­ed against SF 484 which nar­row­ly passed by a vote of 26–19-5.

Again, on April 30, 2015, Sen­a­tor Sod­ders filed an amend­ment to HF 567, which would trans­fer mar­i­jua­na from sched­ule 1 to sched­ule 2, S-3148, which nar­row­ly passed on May 5, 2015, by a vote of 27–23.

These two bills, SF 484 and HF 567 are cur­rent­ly pend­ing in the Iowa House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. HF 567 has already been passed in the Iowa House, but the amend­ment, H-1340 (S-3148 in the Iowa Sen­ate), must still be con­sid­ered before it becomes final.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Iowa Board of Pharmacy Legislative Proposals for 2016

I attend­ed the Iowa Board of Pharmacy’s meet­ing on Wednes­day, Novem­ber 4, 2015, because I noticed that the rec­om­men­da­tion for the reclas­si­fi­ca­tion of cannabid­i­ol that the board approved on Jan­u­ary 5, 2015, was not on the list of pro­posed changes to the sched­ules of con­trolled sub­stances for 2016. That item was on the agen­da for 11:00 a.m., so I took a cou­ple hours of vaca­tion and attend­ed the meet­ing. Just to be cau­tious, I filed a writ­ten com­ment on the item ask­ing why cannabid­i­ol was not includ­ed.

James A. Miller

James A. Miller

And, true to form, the chair of the board, Jim Miller, took an excep­tion­al­ly long time with a pre­sen­ta­tion on tele­phar­ma­cy that he was none too pleased with. The dis­cus­sion on the list of pro­posed changes to the sched­ules was delayed until 1:00 p.m. and I had to leave.

While I was at the meet­ing, I noticed that my request for clar­i­fi­ca­tion has been placed in front of the assis­tant attor­ney gen­er­al, Meghan Gavin. As I was leav­ing, I asked Ms. Gavin if I could get a writ­ten response to my ques­tion. Ms. Gavin said the rec­om­men­da­tion to reclas­si­fy cannabid­i­ol was only for 2016.

While I was there, I hap­pened to talk with Dale Wool­ery, Deputy Direc­tor of the Office of Drug Con­trol Pol­i­cy. I asked him what was going on and he said a lot of the stuff the board was rec­om­mend­ing for 2016 was stuff that didn’t get enact­ed in 2015. That did not jive with what Ms. Gavin told me. Just to be sure, I looked at HF 567 which is leg­is­la­tion from 2015 that is still pend­ing in the Iowa House, and, sure enough, some of the same stuff in the board’s 2016 leg­isla­tive pro­pos­al is in HF 567 from 2015.

Ms. Gavin said I was not enti­tled to a writ­ten request and asked me if I want­ed my request put on the agen­da for the next meet­ing. I con­tact­ed her lat­er and told her my request was a com­ment on an agen­da item and she could do what­ev­er she want­ed with it. She said she does not rep­re­sent the board, but there she was with my request in front of her at the meet­ing.

So, today I filed an open records request under Iowa Code Chap­ter 22 ask­ing for any action the board has tak­en on their Jan­u­ary 5, 2015, pro­pos­al to reclas­si­fy cannabid­i­ol. I’m guess­ing the board hasn’t lift­ed a fin­ger to pro­mote their writ­ten deci­sion in Jan­u­ary. We’ll soon find out. The board has 20 days to respond.

Posted in States | 2 Comments

My Conversation with Senator Grassley

U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA)

U.S. Sen­a­tor Charles Grass­ley (R-IA)

I spoke with U.S. Sen­a­tor Charles Grass­ley on Mon­day, Novem­ber 2, 2015. I’ve tried con­tact­ing him many times before, but this is the first time we’ve actu­al­ly spo­ken. The rea­son for that is because Sen­a­tor Grass­ley has devel­oped a new inter­est in cannabis. On June 24, 2015, in their posi­tions as co-chairs of the U.S. Sen­ate Cau­cus on Inter­na­tion­al Nar­cotics Con­trol, Sen­a­tor Grass­ley and Sen­a­tor Diane Fein­stein held a hear­ing on cannabid­i­ol, a com­po­nent of mar­i­jua­na that has a long his­to­ry of reduc­ing seizures. You can watch a video of the hear­ing and down­load the writ­ten state­ments of the wit­ness­es here.

Because fed­er­al clas­si­fi­ca­tion of con­trolled sub­stances involves two fed­er­al agen­cies, the U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice and the U.S. Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices, Sen­a­tor Grass­ley and Sen­a­tor Fein­stein wrote let­ters to the admin­is­tra­tive agen­cies ask­ing them to explain the sit­u­a­tion. See Title 21, Unit­ed States Code, Sec­tion 811. The let­ters are damn­ing. This is some­thing Sen­a­tor Grass­ley is known for, inves­ti­gat­ing the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, so it is pleas­ing to see him inves­ti­gat­ing some­thing that I con­sid­er impor­tant for pub­lic health.

Sen­a­tor Grass­ley sent me copies of the fol­low­ing doc­u­ments:

Octo­ber 20, 2014 Let­ter to DOJ and DHHS
Decem­ber 16, 2014 DHHS Response
Jan­u­ary 5, 2015 DOJ Response
May 13, 2015 Let­ter to DHHS
May 13, 2015 Let­ter to DOJ
June 23, 2015 DHHS Response
June 23, 2015 DOJ Response

What these doc­u­ments show is that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has been block­ing research for at least 15 years or longer. Sen­a­tor Grass­ley told me there hasn’t been suf­fi­cient resarch to sup­port reclas­si­fi­ca­tion of mar­i­jua­na. Well, that’s obvi­ous­ly because the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has been block­ing the research. Catch 22. It’s inter­est­ing to note the tim­ing here, because the DHHS pub­lished a notice that it’s chang­ing this pol­i­cy in the Fed­er­al Reg­is­ter on June 23, 2015, the day before Sen­a­tor Grassley’s hear­ing. The Brook­ings Insti­tute recent­ly released a report detail­ing how the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has been block­ing research on mar­i­jua­na, which you can down­load here. So, there’s real dam­age here.

As the Brook­ings Insti­tute points out, this is just scratch­ing the sur­face. Fur­ther imped­ing research, there is only one man­u­fac­tur­er of mar­i­jua­na in the Unit­ed States and only one sup­pli­er. The Nation­al Insti­tute on Drug Abuse is the sole sup­pli­er and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mis­sis­sip­pi is the sole grow­er. Just the name of that agency tells you what you need to know. The Nation­al Insti­tute on Drug Abuse’s mis­sion is to under­stand the abuse of drugs, not legit­imize their med­ical use. Catch 22.

Sen­a­tor Grass­ley told me he objects to the patch­work of 40 state laws allow­ing some form of mar­i­jua­na to be used for med­ical pur­pos­es. I respond­ed by say­ing the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment cre­at­ed that patch­work by its fail­ure to act in good faith. The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has lost cred­i­bil­i­ty on this issue, plain and sim­ple.

Sen­a­tor Grass­ley told me he objects to reclas­si­fy­ing mar­i­jua­na with­out some med­ical evi­dence. Sen­a­tor Grass­ley sug­gest­ed that cannabid­i­ol might be the evi­dence that leads to reclas­si­fi­ca­tion of the plant. I respond­ed by say­ing that his idea makes per­fect sense, but the dam­age has already been done.

Sen­a­tor Grass­ley sug­gest­ed that if cannabid­i­ol is resched­uled to sched­ule 2 or low­er then mar­i­jua­na is the source of a fed­er­al­ly accept­ed med­i­cine. That might lead to reclas­si­fi­ca­tion of the plant. I respond­ed by say­ing cannabid­i­ol has absolute­ly zero abuse poten­tial and it won’t be in sched­ule 2, or in any sched­ule. A sub­stance with zero abuse poten­tial does not belong in any of the sched­ules.

I also point­ed out that we have had syn­thet­ic cannabi­noids in sched­ule 2 and sched­ule 3 now for almost 30 years. Those syn­thet­ic cannabi­noids would not exist if they hadn’t been first dis­cov­ered nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring in the mar­i­jua­na plant. So, cannabid­i­ol would not be the first cannabi­noid to be resched­uled, but it would be the first one that isn’t being man­u­fac­tured syn­thet­i­cal­ly. There is a cannabid­i­ol prod­uct called Epid­i­olex that is man­u­fac­tured in Eng­land and appears to be near­ing FDA approval for mar­ket­ing in the Unit­ed States. So, while I agreed that Epid­i­olex would make a good case for resched­ul­ing the whole mar­i­jua­na plant, it also shows we are lag­ging behind the rest of the world in doing research on cannabis. We haven’t been doing the research because we have been block­ing it for decades.

I told Sen­a­tor Grass­ley about my work with the Iowa Board of Phar­ma­cy and he asked me to keep him updat­ed. He said he would keep me updat­ed on any progress he sees at the fed­er­al lev­el. I sent his attor­neys an update on my recent peti­tion with the Iowa Board of Phar­ma­cy a few days lat­er and they respond­ed imme­di­ate­ly, so I get the sense that Sen­a­tor Grass­ley is now a valu­able part­ner as we move for­ward. He seems to be lis­ten­ing, and that’s a good thing. He real­ly can’t defend the behav­ior of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, and the more he looks at it, the more he’s going to come to the same real­iza­tion the Iowa Sen­ate came to by a vote of 44–0-6 on April 15, 2015, mar­i­jua­na does not belong in sched­ule 1.

http://www.drugcaucus.senate.gov/
http://www.drugcaucus.senate.gov/content/drug-caucus-hearing-barriers-cannabidiol-research-0
http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title21/chapter13/subchapter1/partB&edition=prelim
http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2015/10/20-war-on-marijuana-research-hudak-wallack
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/06/23/2015-15479/announcement-of-revision-to-the-department-of-health-and-human-services-guidance-on-procedures-for

Posted in Federal, States | 3 Comments

Marijuana and Federalism Conference

federalism
Pre­sen­ta­tions from our con­fer­ence:

Federalism: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle!”

Sat­ur­day, Octo­ber 31, 2015, 1 PM to 4 PM
Com­mu­ni­ty Room, Mick­le Cen­ter, 1620 Pleas­ant St., Des Moines, IA 50314
Posted in Federal, States | Leave a comment

My Meeting with Congressman Young

Meeting with Congressman Young — 9/22/2015

I met with Con­gress­man David Young (R. IA-3) on Tues­day, Sep­tem­ber 22, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. I gave him a series of doc­u­ments and had a short dis­cus­sion on each one. I asked him a few ques­tions. One of the things that impressed me right away is that he remem­bered meet­ing me at a leg­isla­tive forum with my state Sen­a­tor Jack Whitver and my state Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kevin Koester back in Jan­u­ary of 2015 short­ly after he took office. He remem­bered what I was wear­ing that day. So, this shows the impor­tance of attend­ing local leg­isla­tive forums. Know­ing your state sen­a­tor and state rep­re­sen­ta­tive can be help­ful when you are talk­ing to your fed­er­al con­gress per­son.

david_young

Con­gress­man David Young

The first document

The first doc­u­ment I gave him is the set of con­di­tions for each of the five sched­ules in the Con­trolled Sub­stances Act. I under­lined the phrase “accept­ed med­ical use in treat­ment in the Unit­ed States” in each of the five sec­tions and I asked Con­gress­man Young if there is any con­nec­tion between this phrase and forty (40) state med­ical mar­i­jua­na laws. He said he was unsure. So, this is crit­i­cal. By say­ing he was unsure, he gave me the oppor­tu­ni­ty to explain it to him. I can­not stress how impor­tant this is as the ini­tial step.

The second document

The sec­ond doc­u­ment I gave him is the admin­is­tra­tive process for chang­ing the sched­ules and some court cas­es that explain my inter­pre­ta­tion. First I point­ed out that phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal drugs going through the FDA pipeline are resched­uled at the request of the U.S. Attor­ney Gen­er­al and the U.S. Sec­re­tary of Health and Human Ser­vices. I point­ed out that sub­stances do not resched­ule them­selves. Some­one starts the process. He men­tioned Con­gress at that point, because Con­gress can change the sched­ules leg­isla­tive­ly. But, that still leaves the ques­tion of “any inter­est­ed par­ty.” The admin­is­tra­tive process also allows any inter­est­ed par­ty to ini­ti­ate the process. So, by process of elim­i­na­tion, we know that sub­stances that are resched­uled by Con­gress or at the request of an inter­est­ed par­ty are not going through the FDA pipeline for approval as med­i­cine. Any process to resched­ule as the result of going through the FDA pipeline will be ini­ti­at­ed by the U.S. Attor­ney Gen­er­al and the U.S. Sec­re­tary of Health and Human Ser­vices. So, I asked him, “What hap­pens when a state accepts the med­ical use of mar­i­jua­na? Who ini­ti­ates the process to have it removed from fed­er­al sched­ule 1?” Two state have ini­ti­at­ed the process, but only as an after­thought years lat­er and nei­ther of them has resched­uled at the state lev­el. The peti­tion ini­ti­at­ed by the states of Wash­ing­ton and Rhode Island was filed in Novem­ber of 2011 and is still cur­rent­ly pend­ing with the DEA. So, I made the argu­ment that the states are neg­li­gent for fail­ure to ini­ti­ate the fed­er­al resched­ul­ing process. Who else is going to do it if not a state that has legal­ized the med­ical use of mar­i­jua­na?

Then I told him there were fed­er­al court cas­es that say accept­ed med­ical use under fed­er­al sched­ul­ing can be accept­ed intrastate use of a con­trolled sub­stance with­out any inter­state mar­ket­ing, prov­ing that state laws are rel­e­vant to the phrase “accept­ed med­ical use in treat­ment in the Unit­ed States.”

The third document

The third doc­u­ment I gave him is an amend­ment by Sen­a­tor Whitver that he nev­er actu­al­ly filed. I asked Sen­a­tor Whitver, who is my leg­is­la­tor in the Iowa Sen­ate, to file an amend­ment to a med­ical mar­i­jua­na bill, SF 484, telling the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment that we are reclas­si­fy­ing mar­i­jua­na as med­i­cine under fed­er­al law by enact­ing a state law accept­ing the med­ical use of mar­i­jua­na. Sen­a­tor Whitver is a Repub­li­can and Con­gress­man Young is a Repub­li­can. They know each oth­er. I told him that this doc­u­ment proves how per­sua­sive my argu­ment is.

The fourth document

The fourth doc­u­ment I gave him is the enforce­ment sec­tions in the three inter­na­tion­al treaties where there is an excep­tion to the enforce­ment for con­sti­tu­tion­al due process. I asked him if the laws enact­ed in the states, includ­ing the ones that ful­ly legal­ize mar­i­jua­na for non-med­ical use, are con­sti­tu­tion­al. He said the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has nev­er stepped in to inter­fere with the enact­ment or the imple­men­ta­tion of those law. I remind­ed him that the the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment actu­al­ly did try to inter­fere in Cal­i­for­nia but lost the case in fed­er­al court. He remind­ed me that it hap­pened under the first Bush Admin­is­tra­tion. So, we both agreed that it looks like these laws are con­sti­tu­tion­al. If they are con­sti­tu­tion­al, then they are exempt from the three inter­na­tion­al drug treaties and there is no fail­ure to com­ply with those treaties. The rea­son I brought this up is because there are some old court cas­es before states began accept­ing the med­ical use of mar­i­jua­na that said the treaties do not allow mar­i­jua­na to be placed in a sched­ule low­er than 2. Those old court cas­es are no longer rel­e­vant since we are now talk­ing about activ­i­ty that is exempt from those treaties.

The fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth documents

The next series of doc­u­ments I hand­ed him are four bills pend­ing in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and he is a co-spon­sor of one of them, H.R. 1635.

I said it was a shame that H.R. 1635 expires after 3 years and asked him how pro­duc­ers were going to get excit­ed about invest­ing in this process when it all just dis­ap­pears after three years. I asked him how that will help the patients. He said it would most like­ly be renewed before it expires and this is just Con­gress’ way of dip­ping its toe in the water. I agreed it was bet­ter than noth­ing. He said he had not seen H.R. 525 and would prob­a­bly have no prob­lem co-spon­sor­ing it. I said I would appre­ci­ate his sup­port on any or all of these bills. I did point out that I like H.R. 1774 bet­ter than the oth­ers because it does not pre-deter­mine the out­come after remov­ing mar­i­jua­na from sched­ule 1. I said I don’t like the part where it says the fed­er­al admin­is­tra­tive agen­cies must pick one of the oth­er sched­ules. I think all options should be left open, includ­ing remov­ing mar­i­jua­na from all of the sched­ules. Let’s have a fair process and let’s not pre-deter­mine the out­come. We did agree this issue is build­ing momen­tum from both a med­ical and non-med­ical per­spec­tive and is not going away.

The ninth, tenth, and eleventh documents

We then had a dis­cus­sion on whether mar­i­jua­na has accept­ed med­ical use from a med­ical and phar­ma­co­log­i­cal per­spec­tive. He said there were no stud­ies show­ing accept­ed med­ical use of mar­i­jua­na. I took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to point out that opi­um plants and coca plants have no accept­ed med­ical use in the sense that they are not FDA approved pre­scrip­tion prod­ucts, and yet both of those plants are in sched­ule 2, not sched­ule 1. I said THC in a pill is in sched­ule 3, but the plant it comes from is in sched­ule 1. The drugs made from opi­um and coca plants are most­ly in sched­ule 2. So, I told him the plant does not have to have any greater accept­ed med­ical val­ue than opi­um or coca plants to inval­i­date its cur­rent sched­ule 1 sta­tus. I then hand­ed him three more doc­u­ments.

Summing up

Some­where dur­ing our con­ver­sa­tion, I summed up by say­ing that states were enact­ing laws allow­ing patients to grow mar­i­jua­na at home because of the fed­er­al government’s absurd sched­ul­ing of the plant. What are the states sup­posed to do when the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment says this is not legal and won’t coop­er­ate? It would be like grow­ing car­rots. If you’re grow­ing car­rots to stay healthy, you just want some car­rots in the gar­den. If you have a debil­i­tat­ing med­ical con­di­tion and you want a spe­cial­ized car­rot that tar­gets that par­tic­u­lar con­di­tion, you may want to get some help with the selec­tion of the right car­rots as well as the con­trolled envi­ron­ment for grow­ing those car­rots. Med­i­cine and food are dif­fer­ent in that way. If you eat right, maybe you can avoid the med­i­cine. But when you need some­thing stronger and you’re weak­er, it should be there for you.

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