Carl’s Cannabis Corner – January 19, 2014

There are three topics.

1. Senator Bolkcom has changed his plan after the conference call we had with him on Saturday, January 11, 2014.
2. An Iowa mother whose son has epilepsy filed a formal petition for administrative rulemaking with the Iowa Board of Pharmacy on Tuesday, January 14, 2014.
3. The Iowa Caucuses coming up on Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

Item 1:

Iowa Senator Joe Bolkcom told us on a conference call last week that he was not sharing details with us because he is working behind the scene with other legislators to get bi-partisan support for a medical marijuana bill in the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate. We think he is doing what the Iowa Board of Pharmacy recommended, so we think everything is going as well as it can. In that conference call, Senator Bolkcom said he was going to file a bill last Monday. Since filing a bill does not mean the same thing as introducing a bill, we have no idea whether he did that or not. So, based on everything we know, we think that bill got filed. I received an email from Senator Bolkcom on Thursday, January 16, 2014, saying he has a new plan, but that is so vague it can’t be interpreted. I don’t know what his old plan was and I have no idea what his new plan is. If he’s working with Republicans, he could have a new plan based on negotiations with them. And, he told us he was keeping this secret, so we were adequately informed that we would not know what exactly is going on. I don’t think many legislators know about the Iowa Board of Pharmacy’s recommendations in 2010.


Item 2:

I don’t think the Iowa mother who spoke to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy last Tuesday knew what she was doing at that meeting. I don’t think the board knows what it is doing, either, but the board knows a more than she does and they have lawyers. The Iowa mother does not have an attorney. Since my attorney is going to file a petition for formal rule making this week, I’m not very worried about what she is doing. She got a lot of good press coverage from what she did and we don’t have to rely on her to do all the legal work with the Iowa Board of Pharmacy. We have that board under control as much as possible, so we don’t have to worry about what other people do without qualified attorneys representing them. She is doing something that needed to be done to move this cause forward, so the timing was perfect. Of course mistakes will be made. Those of us who have been advocating for medical marijuana for a long time need to know what we are doing. We are trying to represent people, and that’s a whole different thing than being the people we are trying to represent.


Item 3:

The Iowa caucuses can be similar to court cases if you get into all the technical details. If you don’t know all the rules and how to participate in the three conventions, county, district, and state, you can still participate. Just showing up is better than doing nothing. You’ll learn a lot and people will listen to what you have to say. Go to your caucus.


When we started this process with the Iowa Board of Pharmacy, it was our intent to get people to understand we were leaving out a statutory administrative process that is part of our law here in Iowa. Nobody had ever presented a petition to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy for medical marijuana before. We petitioned the board in 2008, and they denied our petition. We won a judgment against the board in Iowa District Court in 2009, and in 2010 the board ruled unanimously that marijuana is medicine. We were able to do that because we understand the rules better than the Iowa Board of Pharmacy does. Just in the past few months, we have seen two people petition the board, a cancer patient and a mother whose son has epilepsy. So, one of our goals has been achieved. We’ve made people aware of the process and they are using it. Now, the next goal is to get people to understand that process so they are not simply jumping up in the middle of a battlefield without a shield and getting gunned down by the administrative agency and their attorneys.

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