Published in Tenth Amendment Center

The Iowa Senate will consider a bill legalizing medical marijuana during the 2013 legislative session.

Democratic Senators Joe Bolkcom, William Dotzler, Thomas Courtney and Jack Hatch filed (SF79) on Jan. 29.

The complex bill would set up a framework legalizing and regulating the medical use of cannabis for pain management.

Under the law, doctors could prescribe marijuana for  patients diagnosed with  cancer, AIDS, ALS , Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s and other illness. The bill would allow for the creation of non-profit dispensaries to grow and sell medicinal marijuana.

State Rep. Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines) introduced a House bill earlier last month, but HF22 died in a Public Safety Committee subcommittee made up  Rep. Baudler,  Rep. Berry, and Rep. Fry.

“Iowans clearly want our state policy to be sensible and rooted in evidence; that’s why I’m introducing this medical marijuana legislation,” Hunter said in a statement. “At this point, there’s no denying that marijuana helps alleviate the symptoms of a host of terrible diseases, many of which are notoriously difficult to treat.”

Baulder, a retired Iowa State Patrol trooper, led the charge against the House bill, agreeing with critics who said it would lead to higher incidence of illegal drug use.

A 2010 poll by the Des Moines Register indicated that 64 percent of Iowans support the legalization of marijuana for medical use.

Eighteen states already recognize the medicinal use of marijuana, but it remains illegal according to the federal government. This despite the fact that the Constitution delegates no power to the feds to regulate a plant grown within the borders of a state.

“The whole ‘war on drugs’ is blatantly unconstitutional. Doubt me? Then ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to prohibit alcohol,” Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey said.

“Basically, 18 states told the feds to go pound sand. They went ahead and did what their people wanted them to do regarding weed, despite the federal power grab. And that’s how it should work. States should simply tell the feds, ‘No!’ when the DC’vers overstep their constitutional authority. Kudos to all of the states with medical marijuana programs, and kudos to bold lawmakers like the folks in Iowa for standing up to the feds. It’s great to see Democrats hopping on the nullification bandwagon.”

The Senate bill was referred to the Human Resources Committee and assigned to a subcommittee made up of Sen. Bolkcom, Sen. Ernst, and Sen. Hatch.

The Democratic Party controlled Senate may prove friendlier to the measure than the Republican controlled House was.

ACTION ITEMS

If you live in Iowa, contact the Senate subcommittee members and ask them to approve the medical marijuana bills for a hearing in the full committee. Remind them that the majority of Iowans support medical marijuana. Then contact all of the committee members. You can find membership information in the links above.

Finally, contact your own senator and representative and ask them to support the bill.

You can find Senate contact information HERE.

You can track state level marijuana legislation across the U.S. HERE.

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