House File 732 (Medical Cannabidiol)

House File 732 is on the Daily House Debate Calendar for Tuesday, March 26, 2019.

The following statement of consistency with federal law is included in Senate Medical Cannabidiol bill, SF 501, on page 5 at lines 19 through 23.


Please add the same language to HF 732.

House File 732
1Amend File 732 as follows:
21.  Page 2, after line 18 by inserting:
3<Sec. ___.  NEW SECTION124E.20  Federal regulations not
5Notwithstanding any federal regulation to the contrary, the
6use of medical cannabidiol pursuant to this chapter is not
7subject to federal regulation.>
82.  By renumbering as necessary.

It is critically important that this statement of legislative intent be included in our state law.  State legislators frequently say that the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Act authorizes violation of federal law, including legislators who voted for it (Rep. Linda Upmeyer and Rep. John Forbes).  Patients and their care givers should not be stigmatized as criminals.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regulations exempt the religious use of a federal schedule 1 controlled substance, peyote.  See, 21 C.F.R. § 1307.31 (2019).  Churches do not have greater constitutional protection than states have.  For the same reason the DEA maintains an exemption for a church, DEA must exempt a state medical cannabis program.  In fact, states actually have the right to refuse to recognize the religious use of peyote.  See, Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990).  We need to declare we have the right to authorize medical use of cannabis in Iowa and that DEA must include an exemption in Title 21 Section 1307 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

On January 28, a local attorney and I petitioned the DEA to grant an exemption to federal regulations for the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol program, Iowa Code Chapter 124E (2019), similar the one granted to the Native American Church for the religious use of peyote.  See 21 C.F.R. § 1307.03 (2019) and 21 C.F.R. § 1307.31 (2019).

Medical cannabidiol and peyote are both federal Schedule 1 controlled substances, as well as Iowa Schedule 1 controlled substances.  Medical cannabidiol is exempt from the Iowa Controlled Substances Act when used for medical purposes, Iowa Code § 124E.12(4) (2019).  Peyote is exempt from the Iowa Controlled Substance Act when used for religious purposes, Iowa Code § 124.204(8) (2019).  The religious exemption exists because of the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.  A state medical cannabis law is exempt because of the constitutional guarantee of state autonomy and self-determination.  The DEA grants exemptions and it must do so even-handedly.

The DEA has the authority to completely remove cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act without any further authorization from Congress.  See, 21 U.S.C. § 811(a)(2).  It would be absurd to think the DEA cannot recognize an exemption for our state medical cannabis program.  The only reason we don’t have an exemption is because we didn’t ask for one.

I attended the subcommittee hearing on House File 733 on March 21, and HF 733 proves beyond any doubt that a state law authorizing the use of a controlled substance must be consistent with federal law.  See page 15, lines 11 through 21:

112. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed or applied to
12be in conflict with any of the following:
13a. Applicable federal law, …

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