Pharmacy Board to Vote on Re-Scheduling Marijuana

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Wednesday the Iowa Board of Pharmacy could take the first step toward making medical marijuana more accessible for Iowans.

The board will decide whether to recommend re-classifying marijuana from a schedule I to a schedule II drug.

Marijuana's classification goes back decades to the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 when each drug was put into a classification known as a ‘Schedule.’ The schedule lists its medical value and potential for abuse.

Marijuana is currently listed as a Schedule I, which is a drug with no proven or acceptable medication use with a high abuse potential.

Other drugs in Schedule I include heroin and ecstasy.

Proponents want marijuana re-classified as a Schedule II, which is still listed as a high potential for abuse but is currently accepted as a medical treatment.

Other drugs in Schedule II include meth, cocaine and oxycodone.

“Marijuana does not pose as serious of a public health problem as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine,” says Retired Des Moines Doctor Edward Hertko.

Hertko gave his thoughts on the issue Monday to three members of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy. Hertko said alcohol, tobacco and even an item you would find in your pantry is more dangerous than marijuana.

“Sugar is legal and taxed, it causes hundreds of thousands of deaths due to obesity and diabetes,” says Hertko.

The Iowa Board of Pharmacy recommended marijuana be moved to Schedule II five years ago, but it wasn't approved by the legislature. Since then the board has always turned down requests for re-classification.

“We regulate pharmacy and we believe it`s way beyond our scope to make a recommendation that needs to be a broad-based recommendation and that`s where we`ve been in the past,” says board member Edward Maier.

However, with the approval of Iowa's current medical marijuana legislation, the board listened to those on both sides of the issue and will once again vote on re-classification.

“There`s now been a cannabinoid law passed which makes it a little more compelling and narrows it down,” says Maier.

The Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy as well as several other groups testified against re-classification.

The full seven member Iowa Board of Pharmacy will meet Wednesday morning to vote on the issue.

The board can vote yes, no or vote to table to decision pending more discussion.

If approved, the recommendation would go to the legislature for approval, if passed there it would be sent to the Governor.


  • John Smith

    Heroin was developed by the Bayer company as a morphine substitute that caused less nausea. As I recall, they first released it the year before they came out with aspirin. But, in the US we find that it has no provable or acceptable medical use. That bit of politics sure has made a lot of people a lot of money, though. Just not legitimate companies like Bayer.

  • Fred Pherlps (@FredPherlps)

    If the Board does not vote to reclassify, they need to be removed. ALL legitimate scientific data, peer reviewed, proves beyond all doubt that cannabis does meet the criteria to even be a schedule III, let alone I or II, so obviously the Board is making political decisions, not decisions based on facts and science and the so called pro-life republic apparently just like to play sick games with human beings for entertainment.

    Branstad deserves to die of cancer with the government dictating his suffering till his end.

  • Chad P.

    Let them see a meth head and a pot head in person and see which one they think is worse. It’s a joke that pot is a schedule 1 drug. If these idiots don’t recommend the change there is something wrong. I wouldn’t put it by Branstead to shoot it down if it gets to his desk. I didn’t vote for him.

  • Immortal Illumined

    Congratulations Alaska, Oregon, DC, Guam and Portland-Maine…even Florida got 58% of the vote, California voted to lower penalties on ALL drugs, and NYC is ending marijuana arrests

    Marijuana is Dominating, Freedom is Winning


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