On January 19, 2018, some Iowa legislators with good intentions filed House Concurrent Resolution 104 (HCR104), asking the federal government to reclassify marijuana.
Although the intention is good, HCR104 is bad.
Iowa needs to clean up its own affairs before making a fuss about the mess the federal government is perpetuating. Before addressing federal drug law, legislators should consider why we have 50 different state drug laws that all differ from federal drug law and from each other. It’s called “federalism” and it’s our system of government in these united states.
It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.
Justice Louis Brandeis’ dissent in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann (1932)
The scheduling of marijuana in Iowa has not been consistent with federal scheduling since 1979 when the Iowa legislature decided to put marijuana into two schedules, schedule 1 and schedule 2. Marijuana is only in federal schedule 1, not in two schedules.
Compare Iowa Code § 124.204(4)(m) (2018) and Iowa Code § 124.206(7)(a) (2018) with federal regulation 21 C.F.R. § 1308.11(d)(23) (2017). And see, State v. Bonjour, 694 N.W.2d 511 (Iowa 2005) (detailing the history of Iowa’s dual scheduling of marijuana).
Furthermore, the scheduling of THC in Iowa has not been consistent with federal scheduling since 2008 when the Iowa legislature decided to put naturally extracted THC products in state schedule 3. Naturally extracted THC products are in federal schedule 1, not in schedule 3.
It is beyond question that Iowa can determine it’s own scheduling on marijuana and THC, and Iowa has consistently done so.
Asking the federal government to reclassify marijuana to federal schedule 2 while leaving marijuana in state schedule 1 is a really bad idea.
Iowa should place marijuana in state schedule 2, as the bill the Iowa Board of Pharmacy filed in 2011 would have done, before asking the federal government to do something we won’t do as an act of good faith.
Iowa must show good faith and leadership by removing marijuana from state schedule 1 and then reminding the federal government that its illegal to violate our state sovereignty.