Despite a recent poll which showed 58% of Iowa voters support medical marijuana legalization, a bill to legalize medical marijuana was killed by the Iowa Senate earlier this week.
The bill was killed due to concerns over public safety as well as possible unauthorized use by minors.
Sen. Joe Bolkcom, who chaired a subcommittee considering Senate File 79, said after the meeting that it’s apparent the proposal doesn’t have enough support to win the full Senate Human Resources Committee’s approval.
The bill was approved by the subcommittee on a 2-1 vote with Bolkcom and Sen. Jack Hatch in support. But Bolkcom said he won’t press the issue further in the Senate because there aren’t enough votes to pass the proposal in full committee. The measure was opposed by Sen. Joni Ernst who told how she must undergo drug testing as a National Guard member because of safety issues related to drug use. She expressed concerns that medical marijuana would ultimately end up in the hands of minors.
Bolkcom acknowledged that the Iowa Board of Pharmacy has voted in the past to propose legislation that would reclassify marijuana and make it easier to legalize the drug for medical purposes. State law currently lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug which has almost no legal purposes.
A number of medical marijuana users were present at the hearing and shared their stories, but they unfortunately did not compel Bolkcom to push the proposed measure further.
The proposed medical marijuana bill would have allowed patients with qualifying conditions to receive a prescription from a doctor for medical marijuana. The bill also would have established dispensaries throughout the state.