Any hope for a medical marijuana debate in the Iowa House went up in smoke Thursday.
“This bill will not advance any further,” declared Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield, a retired Iowa State Patrol trooper and one of two GOP members of a House subcommittee that refused to pass House File 22 onto the full House Public Safety Committee for consideration this legislative session.
Baudler’s declaration dashed the hopes of supporters who testified that medical marijuana helps relieve pain, nausea and other painful symptoms for people suffering from debilitating maladies such as cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis. Critics countered that there are prescription drugs currently available which provide similar benefits, and legalizing medical marijuana would provide easier access of cannabis for recreational use — especially among young Iowans who already have a high treatment incidence for the addictive drug.
The legislation proposed by Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines, sought to establish a medical marijuana act that would allow the possession and use of marijuana for therapeutic purposes. Under the measure, qualifying patients with diagnosed, debilitating medical conditions who were issued registry identification cards would not be subject to arrest, criminal prosecution, civil penalty, or denied any right or privilege related to their medical use of marijuana.
“These aren’t just some stoners looking for their next high,” Hunter told the legislative panel members. “They are real people looking for real relief for real pain.”
Do you agree with the House committee’s decision not to advance a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Iowa?