DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Board of Pharmacy has voted to table a decision on re-classifying marijuana until January.
Proponents wanted the board to reclassify the drug from schedule I to schedule II.
Schedule II is still listed as a high potential for abuse but is currently accepted as a medical treatment.
A three person sub-committee formed to look at re-scheduling marijuana recommended the board vote to re-classify the drug to schedule II.
Board member Edward Maier said Iowa code recommends the removal of a substance from schedule I if it has some accepted medical benefits. He says the recent cannabis oil legislation passed proves that.
“The passage of this act is an affirmative recognition by the Iowa General Assembly that there is some medical use for marijuana. Continued placement of marijuana in schedule I is not consistent with that act,” says Maier.
The board discussed the suggestion and Gov. Branstad appointed member James Miller voiced concerns.
“The Iowa Board of Pharmacy making a rule about schedule changes when this is clearly the purview of the federal government,” says Miller.
Miller said he was concerned about whether it’s within the board's authority to make such a change and the board voted unanimously to table the decision until its next meeting in January.
“Obviously we need some education with some of the board members here who don't have the argument correct,” says Carl Olsen of Des Moines.
Olsen first petitioned the board to remove marijuana from schedule I in July,, he says the state can make its own decisions on re-classification.
“Some states don`t have marijuana in any schedule, the state can do anything it wants to do. Federal law supersedes state law so federal schedule I supersedes anything the state does but that doesn`t prevent the state from reclassifying marijuana,” says Olsen.
Longtime supporter, Sally Gaer says she's also frustrated the board decided to wait but is hopeful lawmakers might find a solution when the session resumes.
“I was very disappointed that they`re going to table it for another two months but I’m also very hopeful we`ll have some brave bold legislators that are already working on a bill for us to introduce in January before the pharmacy board says anything,” says Gaer.
The Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy as well as several other groups testified against re-classification.
If approved in January, the recommendation would go to the legislature for approval, if passed there it would be sent to the governor.