Board Moves to Dismiss Religious Claim for Cannabidiol

On Thursday, September 20, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy moved to dismiss my petition for the Religious use of medical cannabidiol, in Olsen v. Board of Pharmacy, No. CVCV056841 (Iowa District Court, Polk County).  The Board says the petition should have been filed with the Iowa Legislature instead of the Board.

The problem with the Board’s position is that the Iowa Legislature has given the Board the duty of recommending changes in the schedules of controlled substances and medical cannabidiol is a controlled substance in Iowa.  There is also an existing exemption for the religious use of peyote, a Schedule 1 controlled substance.  Iowa Code § 124.204(8) (2018).

RELIGIOUS USE OF PEYOTE – Iowa Code 124.204(8) (2018)

The Board says the exemption for the religious use of peyote was a response to the federal exemption for the religious of peyote.  However, Iowa created its exemption for the religious use of peyote in 1967.  1967 Iowa Acts ch. 189, § 2.  The federal exemption for the religious use of peyote was not created until 1970.  See Peyote Exemption for Native American Church.  And, see Peyote Exemption for Native American Church.

The Board says it was never involved in creating the exemption for the religious use of peyote in Iowa, but that’s true of most of the substances in the various schedules.  In 1971, the Iowa Legislature moved the exemption for the religious use of peyote from a separate code section into the newly created schedules and gave the Board the duty of recommending changes to the schedules.  Iowa Code Chapter 204A (1971) was repealed and the peyote exemption was moved into the newly created schedules in Iowa Code Chapter 204 (1973).

THE BOARD’S DUTY TO RECOMMEND CHANGES – Iowa Code 124.201(1) (2018)

The Board says a request for a religious exemption to the schedules of controlled substances should go to the Iowa Legislature, but the Iowa Supreme Court has made it clear that the Board has to act first.  In State v. Bonjour, 694 N.W.2d 511 (Iowa 2005), the court wrote:

What [the legislature] has done, however, is to clearly and deliberately decide what the procedure shall be for making that determination.  That procedure is to defer to the Board of Pharmacy Examiners, which is far better equipped than this court — and the legislature, for that matter — to make critical decisions regarding the medical effectiveness of marijuana use and the conditions, if any, it may be used to treat.  The board has not done so, and we, by legislative directive, must wait until it does.

Bonjour, at 514.

Although the Board claims it has no authority to recommend religious exemptions, the exemption being sought is identical to the use of medical cannabidiol created by the Iowa Legislature in 2017.  See, Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Act, 2017 Iowa Acts ch. 162.  The Board would have to accept that the decision of the Iowa Legislature to allow the medical use of cannabidiol proves beyond any doubt that no compelling interest exists in denying that same use for religious reasons.

And, because any decision of the Board goes to Iowa District Court for judicial review, there’s really no good reason why someone seeking a religious exemption would bypass the Board in light of the duty the Iowa Legislature has given the Board to recommend such changes.

THE FEDERAL AND UNIFORM ACTS

Under both the federal and uniform state acts, the scheduling of controlled substances is by administrative rule.  A petition for an administrative rule is a formal rule making process filed with an administrative agency.  The federal exemption for the religious use of peyote is a federal regulation.  See 21 C.F.R. § 1307.31 (2018).

Iowa claims to have adopted the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.  See, Iowa Code § 124.601 (2018).  But Iowa omitted the administrative rule making process for scheduling.  This would also tend to lead to the conclusion that a petition for a religious exemption would begin with the Board.  The Board says it needs to follow the federal process, but both federal and uniform controlled substances acts make scheduling an administrative process due to the technical expertise of the agency making the decision.  Indeed, the federal administrative agency has guidelines for making requests for religious exemptions.

What is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act?

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was enacted in 1993 to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990).  In the Smith case, the court ruled that religious freedom alone was not guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution without an additional constitutional claim, such as equal protection.  The court found that although there was a federal regulation allowing the religious use of the schedule 1 controlled substance peyote, the state of Oregon did not allow any use of peyote and could constitutionally deny the religious use of peyote in Oregon.  The ruling in Smith was that laws neutral on their face toward religion and generally applicable to everyone do not violate the First Amendment if they burden religious exercise.  In response Congress passed RFRA to reverse that ruling.  See, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 103-141, 107 Stat. 1488 (November 16, 1993).

Reacting to RFRA, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997), held RFRA unconstitutional as applied to the states, basically upholding its decision in the Smith case and invalidating its application to the states while leaving RFRA intact as far as the federal government is concerned.  So, this is the first reason that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued guidelines for religious exemptions to the federal Controlled Substances Act under RFRA.

Following the decision in Flores, the court’s first decision on the religious use of schedule 1 controlled substances was in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal (2006).  In O Centro, the court found there was no compelling interest in federal interference with the shipment of a schedule 1 controlled substance from South America to the state of New Mexico.  So, this is the second reason that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued guidelines for religious exemptions to the federal Controlled Substances Act under RFRA.

What was unique about the O Centro case, unlike the Smith case, was that there was no interference with the religious practice of O Centro by the state of New Mexico.

To draw an analogy to my own situation, the Iowa Supreme Court has specifically denied religious protection for the religious use of cannabis in State v. Olsen (1984).  RFRA does not apply to state actions, so the Smith case determines the outcome.  Beginning in 2018, the state of Iowa plans to produce and distribute cannabis extracts in the state of Iowa, which means the Iowa law is no longer neutral toward religion or generally applicable to everyone.

Finally, because O Centro was actively practicing the religion without any interference from the state of New Mexico, O Centro had an injury that could be redressed by the federal courts.  In comparison. the injury in State v. Olsen would first have to be redressed favorably by the Iowa Supreme Court before a federal claim could be made under the Smith ruling.  We’ll see what happens next:

Olsen v. Iowa Board of Pharmacy, No. CVCV056841 (Iowa District Court, Polk County)

Has Murphy v NCAA changed anything?

Has the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Murphy v. NCAA, 584 U.S. ___ (May 14, 2018), prohibiting Congress from forcing states to outlaw sports gambling, actually changed anything regarding legalization of marijuana in the States?  No, not really, and here’s why.

The decision in Murphy does not change anything since Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2015), was decided.  States are, and always have been, free to prohibit, or not to prohibit, activity that the federal government does not allow.

But, we are still left with one fundamental question.  Does state law specifically authorizing activity the federal government does not allow prohibit the federal government from enforcing federal law against an individual in full compliance with the state law?  To be fair, it does matter how the laws (both state and federal) are written (context matters), but let’s proceed to a legal analysis.

Starting with the recent decision in Murphy:

Justice O’Connor’s opinion for the Court traced this rule to the basic structure of government established under the Constitution.  The Constitution, she noted, “confers upon Congress the power to regulate individuals, not States.” 505 U.S., at 166.  In this respect, the Constitution represented a sharp break from the Articles of Confederation.  “Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress lacked the authority in most respects to govern the people directly.” 505 U.S., at 163.  Instead, Congress was limited to acting “‘only upon the States.’” 505 U.S., at 162 (quoting Lane County v. Oregon, 7 Wall. 71, 76 (1869)).  Alexander Hamilton, among others, saw this as “‘[t]he great and radical vice in . . . the existing Confederation.’” 505 U. S., at 163 (quoting The Federalist No. 15, at 108).  The Constitutional Convention considered plans that would have preserved this basic structure, but it rejected them in favor of a plan under which “Congress would exercise its legislative authority directly over individuals rather than over States.” 505 U.S., at 165.

Murphy, slip opinion at page 15-16, citing New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992).

In Gonzales v. Raich, Raich claimed that federal prohibition of her personal use of marijuana for medical use authorized by California state law violated “the Commerce Clause, the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the Constitution, and the doctrine of medical necessity.”  545 U.S., at 8.

Here, respondents ask us to excise individual applications of a concededly valid statutory scheme.  In contrast, in both United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995), and United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000), the parties asserted that a particular statute or provision fell outside Congress’ commerce power in its entirety.  This distinction is pivotal for we have often reiterated that “[w]here the class of activities is regulated and that class is within the reach of federal power, the courts have no power ‘to excise, as trivial, individual instances’ of the class.” Perez, 402 U. S., at 154 (emphasis deleted) (quoting Wirtz, 392 U. S., at 193); see also Hodel, 452 U. S., at 308.

545 U.S., at 23.

The question that was not reached in these two decisions, Murphy and Raich, is a distinction the U.S. Supreme Court mentioned in a footnote in Raich.  After reviewing and upholding the statutory scheme, the court noted that marijuana must be correctly classified to pass constitutional muster, citing, “the accuracy of the findings that require marijuana to be listed in Schedule 1.”  545 U.S., at 28 n. 37.  The court further noted, “[t]he possibility that the drug may be reclassified in the future has no relevance to the question whether Congress now has the power to regulate its production and distribution.”  545 U.S., at 28 n. 37.

And, this is precisely the analysis legal experts have overlooked.  Legal experts, without exception, consistently overlook the “accuracy of the findings that require marijuana to be listed in Schedule 1.”

I’ve written on this topic extensively, but it’s worth repeating again.  Marijuana cannot be in Schedule 1 if it has “accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”  21 U.S.C. § 812(b)(1)(B) (2018).

The requirements for Schedule 1 are listed in 21 U.S.C. § 812(b)(1):

(A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

(B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

(C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

Legal experts will tell you that the required findings are listed in 21 U.S.C. § 811(c):

In making any finding under subsection (a) of this section or under subsection (b) of section 812 of this title, the Attorney General shall consider the following factors with respect to each drug or other substance proposed to be controlled or removed from the schedules:
(1) Its actual or relative potential for abuse.
(2) Scientific evidence of its pharmacological effect, if known.
(3) The state of current scientific knowledge regarding the drug or other substance.
(4) Its history and current pattern of abuse.
(5) The scope, duration, and significance of abuse.
(6) What, if any, risk there is to the public health.
(7) Its psychic or physiological dependence liability.
(8) Whether the substance is an immediate precursor of a substance already controlled under this subchapter.

But, the statute clearly says, “consider.”  Nowhere does the statute say any or all of these factors are determinative.  Nowhere does the statute say other factors, such as state laws, have no relevance.  State law is not explicitly included in the list of findings, but one has to wonder what impact 46 state medical marijuana laws enacted since 1996 might have on a statute that was written in 1970.  How could a federal administrative agency make a finding that a state has not accepted the medical use of a controlled substance?  Are these state laws just totally irrelevant?

There actually are some federal court decisions that address this question, showing that state law is actually determinative.

First, in 1987, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that solely intrastate medical use of a controlled substance is accepted medical use of a controlled substance in the United States.  Grinspoon v. DEA, 881 F.2d 877 (1987):

Congress did not intend “accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” to require a finding of recognized medical use in every state or, as the Administrator contends, approval for interstate marketing of the substance.

Grinspoon, at 886.  And, as recognized by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, “neither the statute nor its legislative history precisely defines the term ‘currently accepted medical use’.”  Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics v. DEA, 930 F.2d 936, 939 (D.C. Cir. 1991).

The authority of the DEA is not unlimited.  As the U.S. Supreme Court held in 2006:

The Attorney General has rulemaking power to fulfill his duties under the CSA.  The specific respects in which he is authorized to make rules, however, instruct us that he is not authorized to make a rule declaring illegitimate a medical standard for care and treatment of patients that is specifically authorized under state law.

Gonzales v. Oregon, 546 U.S. 243, 258 (2006).

Legal experts are applying federal pre-emption to state laws, when they should be applying state pre-emption to the invalid federal administrative classification of marijuana as a substance without medical use in the States.

To prove the point, the Federal Aviation Administration interpretation of state and federal drug law clearly shows state medical marijuana laws exempt individuals from the enforcement of federal administrative regulations:

Title 14: Aeronautics and Space
PART 91—GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES
Subpart A—General

§91.19  Carriage of narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate a civil aircraft within the United States with knowledge that narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances as defined in Federal or State statutes are carried in the aircraft.

(b) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to any carriage of narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances authorized by or under any Federal or State statute or by any Federal or State agency.

14 C.F.R. § 91.19 (2018).

Congressional Candidates 2018

April 28, 2018

Dear Candidates for the Third Congressional District of Iowa,

Some candidates, including David Young, are supporting state medical marijuana programs.  However, despite the fact that 46 states now have such programs, there still exists a lack of clarity on whether currently existing federal law prohibits them.

Federalism means that unless Congress preempts a state law, then that state law prevails.

On the question of the accepted medical use of controlled substances in the states, federal courts have found that Congress has not defined the term “accepted medical use.”  See Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics v. DEA, 930 F.2d 936, 939 (D.C. Cir. 1991).

The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the term “accepted” to mean whatever the state law says it means.  See Gonzales v. Oregon, 546 U.S. 243 (2006).

Federal courts have also found that Congress did not intend the term “accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” to require a finding of recognized medical use in every state.  See Grinspoon v. Drug Enforcement Administration, 828 F.3d 881, 886 (1st Cir. 1987).

Nevertheless, confusion still exists and several bills have been filed in Congress to clarify the matter.  David Young, for example, is a co-sponsor of the CARERS Act of 2017, H.F. 2920 (115th Congress), and David Young was also a co-sponsor of the CARERS Act of 2015, H.R. 1538 (114th Congress).

The problem with the CARERS Act is that it defines “cannabidiol” as three tenths of one percent (.3%) “tetrahydrocannabinol” (THC).  In 2017, Iowa enacted the Medical Cannabidiol Act of 2017, H.F. 524 (Acts Chapter 162, 87th General Assembly, 1st Session), which defines “cannabidiol” as three percent (3%) THC.  Cannabidiol (CBD) does not contain any THC.

It is plants and preparations that are being addressed.  Hemp, for example, is defined as three tenths of one percent (.3%) THC by dry weight, 7 U.S.C. § 5940(b)(2) (2017).  Iowa defines “cannabidiol” as products that are three percent (3%) THC by volume.

We now have a conflict between our state law and the CARERS Act of 2017.  I’ve pointed this out to David Young and asked him to withdraw his support for the CARERS Act of 2017.  I’ve also asked him to add his support to the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017, H.R. 975 (115th Congress), as Rob Blum is doing for the First Congressional District of Iowa.

I’m wondering where you stand on this issue.

I look forward anxiously for your response.

Thank you!

Carl Olsen
515-343-9933
carl@carl-olsen.com

cc: David Young
PO Box 162
Van Meter, Iowa 50261

Requested Amendments to SF2397 (2018)

Proposed Amendment to SF 2397 (a bill by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means)

 

AN AMENDMENT TO SF 2397

 

Section 124E.1, Code 2018, is amended by adding the following new subsection and renumbering the remaining subsections:

NEW SECTION.  124E.2  Legislative purpose and intent.

The purpose and intent of this chapter is all of the following:

1.  The framers of the United States Constitution, recognizing state sovereignty, secured its protection in the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

2.  Beginning with California in 1996, a total of forty-six states have now enacted laws defining marijuana or extracts of marijuana as medicine.

3.  Congress did not intend the term “accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” to require a finding of recognized medical use in every state, Grinspoon v. Drug Enforcement Administration, 828 F.3d 881, 886 (1st Cir. 1987).

4.  Congress did not define the term “currently accepted medical use” in the federal Controlled Substances Act, Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics v. Drug Enforcement Administration, 930 F.2d 936, 939 (D.C. Cir. 1991).

5.  In Gonzales v. Oregon, 546 U.S. 243 (2006) the Supreme Court of the United States acknowledged the decision-making authority to accept the medical use of controlled substances is a police power historically reserved to the states.

6.  The state and federal classification of marijuana as a substance without accepted medical use in treatment in the United States does not apply to the accepted medical use of marijuana in the state of Iowa.

Online Copy: 2018 Amendment One SF2397


 


Proposed Amendment to SF 2397 (a bill by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means)

 

AN AMENDMENT TO SF 2397

 

Amend Senate File 2397 as follows:

By inserting:

<Section 1.  Section 124.204, subsection 4, paragraphs m and u, Code 2017, are amended by striking the paragraphs.

Sec. 2.  Section 124.204, subsection 7, Code 2017, is amended by striking the subsection.

Sec. 3.  Section 124.206, subsection 7, Code 2017, is amended to read as follows:

7. Hallucinogenic substances.  Unless specifically excepted or unless listed in another schedule, any material, compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity of the following substances, or, for purposes of paragraphs “a” and “b”, which contains any of its salts, isomers, or salts of isomers whenever the existence of such salts, isomers, or salts of isomers is possible within the specific chemical designation (for purposes of this paragraph only, the term “isomer” includes the optical, positional, and geometric isomers):

a.  Marijuana when used for medicinal purposes pursuant to rules of the board.

b.  Tetrahydrocannabinols, meaning tetrahydrocannabinols naturally contained in a plant of the genus Cannabis (Cannabis plant) as well as synthetic equivalents of the substances contained in the Cannabis plant, or in the resinous extractives of such plant, and synthetic substances, derivatives, and their isomers with similar chemical structure and pharmacological activity to those substances contained in the plant, such as the following:

(1)  1 cis or trans tetrahydrocannabinol, and their optical isomers.

(2)  6 cis or trans tetrahydrocannabinol, and their optical isomers.

(3)  3,4 cis or trans tetrahydrocannabinol, and their optical isomers.  (Since nomenclature of these substances is not internationally standardized, compounds of these structures, regardless of numerical designation of atomic positions covered.)

b. c.  Nabilone [another name for nabilone: (+-) -trans-3-(1,1-dimethylheptyl)-6,6a,7,8,10,10a-hexahydro-1-hydroxy-6,6-dimethyl-9H-dibenzo[b,d]pyran-9-one].>

Online Copy: 2018 Amendment Two SF2397

Candidate Questionnaire 2018

HAS IOWA TURNED TO CRIME?

We’ve been hearing some startling comments on Iowa’s new cannabis oil law lately, 2017 Iowa Acts Chapter 162, HF 524.  Iowa’s new law authorizes “production and distribution” in Iowa of products containing “any cannabinoid” found in marijuana plants which contains no more than 3% tetrahydrocannabinol.  Iowa Code § 124E.2(6) (2018).  The previous version of this law, 2014 Iowa Acts Chapter 1125, SF2360, authorized only the “possession and use” in Iowa of products containing “a cannabinoid” found in marijuana containing no more than 3% tetrahydrocannabinol.  Iowa Code § 124D.2(1) (2017).

Here are some quotes from Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer:

She says they are already anticipating doing this bill with the possibility of breaking two federal laws.

KGLO Radio — Mason City, Iowa — March 27, 2017

House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, noted in a statement that no matter what the Legislature had decided, the state still would have been in violation of federal law.

Des Moines Register — Des Moines, Iowa — September 10, 2017

And, here is a quote from State Representative John Forbes:

I mean, we are violating federal law with a cannabis bill here in the state of Iowa.

Iowa Public Television — Johnston, Iowa — December 22, 2017

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

  1. Are state lawmakers violating any federal law by authorizing the use and possession of cannabis oil in Iowa?
     
  2. Are state lawmakers violating any federal law by authorizing the cultivation of marijuana in Iowa for the production of cannabis oil?
     
  3. Are state-licensed users of cannabis oil in violation of any federal law for using and possessing cannabis oil in Iowa?
     
  4. Are state-licensed cultivators of marijuana in violation of any federal law for growing marijuana in Iowa?
     
  5. Are state-licensed distributors of cannabis oil in violation of any federal law for distributing cannabis oil in Iowa?
     

 

THE OPINION OF SOME LEGISLATORS IN HAWAII

SB2217: clarifies that medical use of cannabis is not considered to be a state or federal crime

HB2572: clarifies that medical use of cannabis is not considered to be a state or federal crime

HB2031: authorizes interisland transportation of cannabis

House Concurrent Resolution 104 is a Bad Idea

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.

Compare Iowa Code § 124.208(9)(b) (2018) with federal regulation 21 C.F.R. § 1308.13(g)(1) (2017).

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.

Medical Professionals Practicing Law Without Licenses

Iowa has a new health crisis, medical professionals practicing law without licenses.

In an effort to make cannabidiol as unhealthy and risky as possible, medical professionals in the Iowa House of Representatives are claiming the law they just helped enact violates federal law.  This is known in law as criminal intent (known in legal terms as “mens rea” or guilty mind), if it was actually true that cannabidiol violates federal law (which it is not).

For a while, it seemed that the House Speaker, Linda Upmeyer, a registered nurse, was the only elected official making these absurd public statements about the law she just helped enact, but now we have Representative John Forbes, a licensed pharmacist, saying same thing.  At least we can say the effort to betray Iowans is non-partisan, but that doesn’t make it any less repugnant.

Here are the quotes from House Speaker Linda Upmeyer:

She says they are already anticipating doing this bill with the possibility of breaking two federal laws.

KGLO Radio – Mason City, Iowa – March 27, 2017

House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, noted in a statement that no matter what the Legislature had decided, the state still would have been in violation of federal law.

Des Moines Register – Des Moines, Iowa – September 10, 2017

And, here is the quote from Representative John Forbes:

I mean, we are violating federal law with a cannabis bill here in the state of Iowa.

Iowa Public Television – Johnston, Iowa – December 22, 2017

We know this is some kind of an addiction to federal boot licking, but state legislators can do better than this!

Congressman Young Betrays Iowans

Today, I was told that U.S. Representative David Young is co-sponsoring federal legislation, H.R. 2920, that he has now been notified creates a direct, positive conflict with our state law.

H.R. 2920 was written by U.S. Representative Steve Cohen who represents the state of Tennessee.

Last year, on July 6, 2016, Congressman Young co-sponsored Congressman Cohen’s federal legislation, H.R. 1538, that defined ‘cannabidiol’ as the substance cannabidiol, as derived from marihuana or the synthetic formulation, that contains not greater than 0.3 percent delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol on a dry weight basis, H.R. 1538 § 4(2).

H.R. 1538 further authorized the Attorney General of the United States to determine whether State law authorizing the cultivation and manufacture of marijuana to make cannabidiol is reasonably calculated to comply with the new federal definition of cannabidiol, H.R. 1538 § 5.

In 2016, 2014 Iowa Acts, Chapter 1125 (S.F. 2360) allowed the possession only of cannabidiol, defined as a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid found in the plant Cannabis sativa L. or Cannabis indica or any other preparation thereof that is essentially free from plant material, and has a tetrahydrocannabinol level of no more than three percent, Iowa Code § 124D.2(1) (2016).

Because Iowa law did not authorize the cultivation or manufacture of marijuana to make cannabidiol in 2016, H.R. 1538 did not create a direct, positive conflict with our state law.

However, in 2017, 2017 Iowa Acts, Chapter 162 (H.F. 524) allowed the cultivation and manufacture of marijuana to make cannabidiol in Iowa, and changed the definition of cannabidiol to any pharmaceutical grade cannabinoid found in the plant Cannabis sativa L. or Cannabis indica or any other preparation thereof that has a tetrahydrocannabinol level of no more than three percent, Iowa Code § 124E.2(6) (2017).

Please note the 2014 Iowa law defined cannabidiol as “a” cannabinoid (singular) and the 2017 Iowa law defines cannabidiol as “any” cannabinoid (plural).

The 2017 act became law on May 12, 2017.  Congressman Young co-sponsored H.R. 2920 on September 11, 2017, adopting Congressman Cohen’s definition of cannabidiol and creating a conflict with our state law rather than defending us.

Like a lot of other states, Iowa is not waiting around for the federal government to figure this out.  The federal government has been foot dragging and stone walling on this issue for decades.

When I asked Congressman Young to explain, his staff said they have contacted Congressman Cohen and Congressman Cohen’s staff did not know why that definition of cannabidiol is in his bill and why it gives the U.S. Attorney General any say in the matter.  According to Congressman Young’s staff, Congressman Cohen’s staff said it was put there at the request of U.S. Senator Kristin Gillibrand who represents the state of New York.

This is insane!  Congressman Young is not defending us.

Chuck Grassley – a day late and a dollar short

Earlier this year, Iowa legalized the cultivation of marijuana for medical use, by a vote of 83-11 in the Iowa House and by a vote of 33-7 in the Iowa Senate.  The bill was signed into law by our governor on May 12, 2017 Chapter 162 (H.F. 524).

On December 18, 2017, I wrote U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley a letter asking him to sponsor legislation like his former chief of staff, U.S. Representative David Young has sponsored in Congress this year (H.R.2920) and last year (H.R.1358) protecting our state medical marijuana law.

On December 21, 2017, Chuck replied: “Over the years, some people have expressed the view that marijuana should be legalized for recreational, medical, and agricultural purposes.  However, I disagree with this view.”

“Some people,” as Chuck refers to, are the people he is supposed to represent in Washington, DC.  People to Chuck: “It’s too late to close the barn door after the horse has bolted.”