(Source: Iowa Politics.com) 11/5/2009
After four rounds of supportive testimony from doctors, patients and advocates, board will now recommend to state lawmakers whether to change marijuana’s classification under state law
COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA — Today the Iowa Board of Pharmacy held the last of four hearings to examine the medical value of marijuana, receiving testimony from a range of medical experts, patients who have benefited from medical marijuana, and many others who asked that Iowa allow doctors to recommend the medical use of marijuana for seriously ill patients.
More than 80 people in total testified at hearings in Des Moines, Mason City, Iowa City and Council Bluffs. Almost no one testified against medical marijuana. Among those who spoke out in favor of medical marijuana were state Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City), Dr. Stephan Arndt, director of the Iowa Consortium for Substance Abuse Research and Evaluation, and Raphael Mechoulam, the Israeli scientist who in 1964 discovered THC, marijuana’s main psychoactive component.
“Marijuana has been found to be of considerable medical value in numerous diseases,” said Mechoulam, considered the world’s leading expert on marijuana and cannabinoids, who testified by phone from Israel.
Noah Mamber, a legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project, who testified by phone from Washington, D.C., asked the board to officially recognize the medical value of marijuana and to encourage state lawmakers to allow doctors to recommend marijuana for qualified patients. “In allowing doctors to write ‘recommendations,’ as opposed to prescriptions, Iowa can still maintain a doctor’s place as the gatekeeper who controls who is allowed to possess medicine while still creating an effective medical marijuana law,” he said.
Sen. Bolkcom has already introduced legislation that would protect medical marijuana patients from criminal sanctions. SF 293 would also create nonprofit compassion centers that could distribute medical marijuana to qualified patients.
With more than 29,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.
CONTACT: Mike Meno, MPP assistant director of communications 202-905-2030
For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org.
Editor’s Note: It is interesting to juxtapose this coverage by MPP with the local Omaha news, which you can view here. Somehow the news was present during the “But what does this say to the children?!” rant against medical marijuana, but absent during the testimonies by doctors, nurses and scientists.