Moving in the opposite direction of most of the nation, the Iowa House of Representatives approved a bill last week that would remove any and all references to "medical marijuana" from Iowa law.
Passing with bi-partisan support, the bill redefines marijuana as exclusively a Schedule I narcotic, rendering it illegal throughout the state in any context. Presently, Iowa state law designates cannabis as both a Schedule I and Schedule II drug. Earlier this year, a medical marijuana bill failed to make it out of a House subcommittee.
The House bill on medical marijuana makes even less sense in the wake of the Iowa Pharmacy Board voting unanimously in November 2010 to recommend re-categorizing pot from Schedule I to Schedule II, meaning it's considered to have some medical use – as cocaine already is classified. When the law was changed, Iowa became the first state to reschedule pot in a preemptive move before actually legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes – but now all that is just a faded dream for Iowa patients.
And another ironic twist to Iowa effectively wiping out any acknowledgement of medical pot within their borders – an action primarily based on their fears of federal retribution should they legalize it – is that two of the nation's four pot patients who receive their medical marijuana directly from the U.S. government, George McMahon and Barbara Dougass, reside in Iowa.
Perhaps this glaring contradiction will serve as motivation for Iowa legislators to do the humane thing and legalize medicinal cannabis instead of attempting to sweep it under the rug.