Title II created a Commission on Marijuana and Drug
Abuse to report to Congress, within one year, on
marijuana, and, within two years, on
the causes of drug abuse.
The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse was created by Public Law 91-513
to study marijuana abuse in the United States. While the Controlled Substances Act
was being drafted in a House committee in 1970, Assistant Secretary of Health Roger
O. Egeberg had recommended that marijuana temporarily be placed in Schedule I, the
most restictive category of drugs, pending the Commission's report. On March 22,
1972, the Commission's chairman, Raymond P. Shafer, presented a report to Congress
and the public entitled "Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding," which favored
ending marijuana prohibition and adopting other methods to discourage use.
The Commission recommended decriminalization of simple possession, finding:
[T]he criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the
effort to discourage use. It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior
which we believe is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use of the
drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior,
a step which our society takes only 'with the greatest reluctance.
The Commission found that the constitutionality of marijuana prohibition was suspect,
and that the executive and legislative branches had a responsibility to obey the
Constitution, even in the absence of a court ruling to do so:
While the judiciary is the governmental institution most directly concerned with
the protection of individual liberties, all policy-makers have a responsibility
to consider our constitutional heritage when framing public policy. Regardless of
whether or not the courts would overturn a prohibition of possession of marihuana
for personal use in the home, we are necessarily influenced by the high place traditionally
occupied by the value of privacy in our constitutional scheme.
"Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances
known to man."
Capitol Police will be informed that two participants, George McMahon and Barbara
Douglass are authorized to use marijuana by the federal government as well as the
Iowa Board of Pharmacy Examiners.
Capitol Police has been informed that two participants, George McMahon and Barbara
Douglass, have legal prescriptions for marijuana and are approved to use marijuana
by the federal government as well as the Iowa Board of Pharmacy Examiners.
What all of this means is that, if the board of pharmacy examiners really concludes
marijuana to have no medicinal value, as alleged by the assistant county attorney,
the board has an unqualified duty to recommend that the general assembly delete
it from Schedule II and revise Schedule I so that it is not excluded even when utilized
for medicinal purposes. See Sections 124.203, 124.205, (The Code 1997).
If the legislature wanted to preclude the common-law necessity defense by a clear
and deliberate choice regarding the values surrounding the medical use of marijuana,
it would have repealed the sections of the Code recognizing that marijuana has legitimate
The failure of the board of pharmacy examiners to act is not an excuse for this
court to refuse to recognize the defense when the legislature clearly recognizes
there are legitimate medical uses for marijuana. We do not have to wait for the
legislature or the board to negotiate the political minefield regarding the medical
use of marijuana. As long as the legislature has not precluded the defense by a
clear and deliberate choice, this court has an obligation to allow a defendant to
use a necessity defense if the facts support such a defense.