Iowa Board Needn’t Try Again for Pot Reform

     DES MOINES, Iowa (CN) — The Iowa Board of Pharmacy has no obligation to again petition the Iowa Legislature to reclassify marijuana, a state appeals court ruled Wednesday, in a loss for a marijuana reform activist.
     Carl Olsen petitioned the Iowa Board of Pharmacy in 2013 to recommend removing marijuana from the state’s list of Schedule I drugs, which are determined to have no medicinal value.
     The board had already recommended reclassification of the drug in 2010, but the Legislature declined to take action. The Legislature also turned down two bills for medical marijuana in 2013, which reaffirmed the board’s decision not to make an additional recommendation.
     “Certainly the Board could reasonably conclude it was unnecessary to repeat its recommendation for reclassification that it provided in 2010 in light of the fact that the legislature gave consideration to reclassification in the 2013 legislative session,” Judge David Danilson wrote for a three-judge panel. “Moreover, there is no indication the Board has withdrawn its earlier recommendation.”
     Olsen is an activist for marijuana law reform and has been filing petitions to reclassify the drug since 1972, according to his blog.
     His first petition was filed with NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Earlier this year, NORML representatives at Iowa State University won a free-speech lawsuit against the school for censoring the student group’s t-shirts.
     The case is now pending appeal with the Eighth Circuit.
     Since Olsen’s most recent reclassification appeal, medical marijuana bills have been defeated in Iowa’s 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions as well.

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