A bill that would have legalized medical marijuana statewide died in the Iowa House of Representatives after a subcommittee refused to forward it to the House Public Safety Committee following a hearing held at the State Capitol in Des Moines last Thursday.
House Representative Clel Baudler (R-58th District) – chair of the Public Safety Committee and a retired Iowa Patrol trooper – gladly announced the death of the bill, HR 2270. With the extremely conservative and influential Baudler on the three-member subcommittee, HR 2270 had little chance of advancing.
The legislation was initially proposed by Rep Bruce Hunter (D-62nd District) to create a Medical Marijuana Act establishing nonprofit dispensaries enabling qualified patients to access medicinal cannabis. But Steve Lukan, Director of the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy advised the subcommittee to “slow down and think about” legalizing pot.
Rep Baudler didn't need to slow down – he was vehemently opposed to legal medical pot from the get-go.
Testimony from patients as to the healing properties of cannabis were ignored by Rep Baudler, who had the audacity to admit he only held the hearing because the public (i.e., his voting constituency) “challenged” him to do it. But beyond the lip service of holding the hearing, Baudler and Lukan had no intention of allowing HR 2270 to advance to an actual House committee.
The less-than-eloquent Baudler demonstrated his Neanderthal opposition to medical pot during his prepared statement released prior to the hearing: “I’ve watched state government function since 1962 and doing any bill, let alone this one, that would legalize marijuana would be one or two or three of the stupidest bills that’s ever been passed by this organization in my opinion … There is no reason to legalize medical marijuana.”
Public testimony, including that of a Marine Corps veteran suffering from chronic pain and PTSD who stated that pot provides relief without “the horrible side effects” of prescription meds, had little effect on Baudler’s decision.
Rep Hunter made a last-ditch effort to win over the subcommittee, telling them, “These aren’t just some stoners looking for their next high. They are real people looking for real relief for real pain.”