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"Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."

Olsen v. Iowa Board of Pharmacy, No. 16-1381 (filed August 2016)

Olsen v. Iowa Board of Pharmacy, No. CV-51068 (filed January 2016)

DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg says:

Schedule I includes some substances that are exceptionally dangerous and some that are less dangerous (including marijuana, which is less dangerous than some substances in other schedules). That strikes some people as odd, but the criteria for inclusion in Schedule I is not relative danger.

What you need to know in Iowa

Iowa law allows only the possession or use of cannabidiol that has less than 3% tetrahydrocannabinol [THC]
Only for the treatment of intractable epilepsy with the written recommendation of a neurologist
The cannabidiol must be obtained from an out-of-state source and "recommended for oral or transdermal administration" (non-smoked)
This law is only temporary and will expire on July 1, 2017

The CARERS Act of 2015 (S. 683 & H.R. 1538)

Update on April 15, 2016

A request for federal rescheduling of cannabis, SR 114, has been filed by five Republican senators, Senator Mark Chelgren, Senator Brad Zaun, Senator Jason Schultz, Senator Ken Rozenboom, and Senator Charles Schneider, on April 14, 2016, urging the President and Congress to reschedule the marijuana plant. SR 114: Weaknesses (including, but not limited to):
  • says there are 23 medical marijuana states and Iowa is one of them, which is not true. There are 24 states with medical marijuana programs, 1 state with a program that hasn't been implemented, and 16 states like Iowa with cannabis extract laws. That is a total of 41, not 23.
  • really makes no sense without state rescheduling. Three of these senators, Chelgren, Schultz, and Schneider, have filed a bill to reschedule cannabis in Iowa, SF 2025.
We sincerely complement these Republican legislators for paying attention to details (in spite of the obvious math error counting the number of states mentioned above).

Update on February 23, 2016

On February 17, 2016, HSB 607 was switched for an amended version which passed in the subcommittee by a vote of 3-0 and later in the day it passed in the full committtee by a vote of 17-6. Thank you to Rep. Forbes and Rep. Nunn for sending me a copy of the amended version! The amended version is now HF 2384 The bill is currently pending in the House Committee on Ways and Means. HF 2384:
  • allows cultivation of cannabis and distribution of cannabidiol products.
  • expands the list of conditions from epilepsy to include multiple sclerosis and terminal cancer.
  • expands the definition of health care practioner.
Weaknesses (including, but not limited to):
  • does not include other cannabinoids known to have medical value.
  • does not remove federal criminal penalties and assumes qualified patients, producers, and distributors will voluntarily violate federal law.

Update on January 30, 2016

A new medical cannabidiol bill, HF 2097, has been filed by three Republican representatives, Tedd Gassman, Larry Sheets, Ron Jorgensen, and three Democratic representatives, Charlie McConkey, Scott Ourth, and Mary Lynn Wolfe, on January 26, 2016, and referred to the House Committee on Public Safety. HF 2097:
  • removes state criminal penalties for possession by a qualified patient.
  • makes the Medical Cannabidiol Act permanent by removing the July 1, 2017, expiration.
  • replaces the word “neurologist” with the word “physician” making it easier to find a doctor.
  • replaces the word “epilepsy” with the phrase “debilitating medical condition” and adds two more conditions, Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis.
Weaknesses (including, but not limited to):
  • does not provide any means of access.
  • does not include other cannabinoids known to have medical value.
  • does not authorize the Iowa Department of Public Health to add more conditions.
  • does not remove federal criminal penalties and assumes qualified patients will voluntarily violate federal law.

Update on January 23, 2016

A stand-alone bill, SF 2025, that would reclassify marijuana was filed by three Republican senators, Senator Charles Schneider, Senator Mark Chelgren, and Senator Jason Schultz, on January 19, 2016, and referred to a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Judiciary on January 21, 2016. The three senators on the subcommittee are, Senator Charles Schneider, Senator Steven Sodders, and Senator Wally Horn.

(Note: CBD is the acronym for cannabidiol)

Medical Cannabidiol Act Registration Card Program

Update on May 24, 2015

An amendment to H-1365 (H-1379) was filed on May 20, 2015, by Representative Bob Kressig from Black Hawk County, but it was ruled non-germane on March 20, 2015.  H-1365 is mostly the same as HF 567 without the Senate amendment (S-3148). So, the net result here is that the Republicans are trying to kill both SF 484 and the Senate Amendment to HF 567 (S-3148).
Senate File 484 (SF 484) would create 12 dispensaries in Iowa, add conditions to the list of conditions which marijuana can be used to treat, and add components of marijuana that were not included in last year's Medical Cannabidiol Act. An amendment was added to reschedule marijuana (S-3123) at the state level, but the amendment fails to address federal scheduling.  The amendment passed by a vote of 44-0-6.  SF 484, as amended, passed in the Iowa Senate on April 15, 2015, by a vote of 26-19-5. Here are two amendments my senator had drafted by the Legislative Services Agency, but neither of them got filed: Amendment 1, Amendment 2
House File 567 (HF 567) (scheduling of other controlled substances) was passed in the House on March 17, 2015, and amended by the Senate on May 5, 2015.  The amendment corrects the classification of marijuana and reduces some of the penalties for unauthorized use.  Amendment S-3148 reclassifies marijuana at the state level, but fails to address federal scheduling.  HF 567 was messaged to the House on May 6, 2015, and the Senate amendment is now H-1340.
An amendment to HF 573 (H-1070) was filed on March 11, 2015, by Representive Vicki S. Lensing from Johnson County, but it was withdrawn on March 12, 2015.
In 2014, Iowa enacted a bill allowing cannabidiol to be recommended for epilepsy by a neurologist, but that bill does not provide any means of production or access.  The new law expires on July 1, 2017.  Cannabidiol is an extract from the marijuana plant.  Marijuana is a schedule 1 controlled substance, a classification more restrictive than the classification of opium plants.
In order to grow marijuana and produce the cannibidiol, marijuana needs to be in a less restrictive classification such as the same classification opium plants are in (prescription morphine is extracted from opium plants).  Opium plants are a schedule 2 controlled substance, both at the state and federal level.
Reclassifying marijuana to at least schedule 2 is a necessary step toward federal reclassification.  Please read the December 17, 2014, position statement of the American Academy of Neurology requesting the reclassification of marijuana to schedule 2.  And, please read the January 20, 2015, position statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics requesting the reclassification of marijuana to schedule 2.
Apparently this is difficult to understand.  On January 5, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy voted to recommend marijuana be in the same classification as opium plants.  Unfortunately, the pharmacy board incorrectly thought that opium plants are in schedule 1.  The pharmacy board has never been asked to reclassify a plant before.  We filed for reconsideration of that decision and the pharmacy board has denied it.  We prepared a written statement to the board, along with the two attached articles: The Register's Editorial: Iowa should fix its cannabis oil problem, not Illinois; and Radio Iowa: Branstad rapped for comments about getting cannabis oil from Illinois.


This site is not intended to provide legal or medical advice. We are not a medical marijuana provider. We do not give patient referals. We are simply providing links to information which may assist you in doing your own research.
Iowans for Medical Marijuana began in 1990 when Carl Olsen and two Iowans who receive marijuana legally from the federal government, George McMahon and Barbara Douglass, decided to form an organization to educate Iowans about the medical benefits of cannabis. George and Barbara are also original directors of POT's Board of Directors (Patients Out of Time) (, a Virginia based, national medical cannabis educational organization created in 1995. Carl Olsen is also an original member of POT's Board of Advisors.
    In 2006, Iowans for Medical Marijuana incorporated in the state of Iowa for the specific purpose of presenting evidence to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy on marijuana's accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, because state and federal schedule I prohibit anything with accepted medical use in treatment in the United States from being included in that classification.
    In 2008, with the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa ( and Patients Out of Time, we petitioned the Iowa Board of Pharmacy to find that the current classification of marijuana is unlawful.

    National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) - November 12, 2010
    Iowa Board Approved Medical Marijuana Recommendation to Legislature
    National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) - March 3, 2010
    Iowa Board of Pharmacy Recommends Classifying Marijuana as Schedule II Drug

    In 2010, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy ruled unanimously that marijuana is medicine and is no longer lawfully classified.