How Much Does Marijuana Impact Your Driving?

IOWA:  A rigorous federal research study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse offers new data on the effects of marijuana on driving performance.

The exact impact of marijuana on driving ability is a controversial subject—and it’s become more important states continue to loosen their drug laws. And, while drunk driving is on the decline in the U.S., driving after having smoked or otherwise consumer marijuana has become more common. According to the most recent national roadside survey from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of weekend nighttime drivers, 8.3 percent had some alcohol in their system and 12.6 percent tested positive for THC—up from 8.6 percent in 2007.

It is illegal in all states to drive under the influence of anything, but years of work went in to establishing the .08 breathe alcohol limit that exists in most states. The question is whether we can establish a similar threshold for pot.

Iowa Officials Slow To Implement Medical Marijuana Oil Law

IOWA:  Iowa officials have been moving slowly to implement a law allowing for an extract of marijuana to be used for medical treatment, and advocates say they’ll keep pressing for more access to the drug.

The state Department of Public Health has yet to issue a single marijuana registration card that’s required under the law that passed last year, the Quad-City Times reported. Iowa residents need cards to legally possess marijuana extract purchased in other states.

Maria La France, a mother in Des Moines, said she remains too nervous about being arrested to regularly obtain marijuana oil for her son’s intractable epilepsy, the only condition recognized under the law for marijuana treatment.

“It’s too scary to break the law, too difficult to lose sleep at night. I frankly spend enough time worrying if my child is going to live another week,” La France said.


Expansion Of Medical Marijuana Rule Sought In Iowa

IOWA:  Limited use of medical marijuana is legal in Iowa thanks to a law enacted earlier this year. Medical marijuana advocates are not satisfied, however, and continue to press for expansion of that law and other legal changes.

With the 2015 session of the Iowa Legislature looming, advocates continue to push for measures that would loosen the restrictions on the use of marijuana or its derivatives in medical treatments. One movement calls for expansion of the new law, and another calls for a change in marijuana’s legal classification.

Such changes would require action at the state Capitol, where lawmakers return to action in a couple of months under the same split-control leadership as the past two years.

“The governor believes the state needs to exercise caution and diligently analyze the issue,” Jimmy Centers, a spokesman for Gov. Terry Branstad, said in an email. “Should reclassification and/or expansion of cannabidiol use pass both chambers of the Iowa Legislature, the governor would carefully review the bill.”


Board Hears Debate Over Reclassification Of Marijuana

IOWA:  An Iowa Board of Pharmacy committee listened to debate Monday over reclassifying marijuana.

Reclassifying marijuana from Schedule 1, highly-abused drugs with no medical use, to Schedule 2, drugs that have medical use, could be a step toward legalizing medicinal marijuana production and distribution in the state. This is the next step proponents said must be taken to allow them to utilize a new state law that currently they cannot.

Last year, the Iowa legislature approved a limited law allowing possession of cannabis oil for people with severe epilepsy, but when medical marijuana cards are handed out early next year, the cards will not provide protection from prosecution in other states or on a federal level for trying to transport or mail the cannabis oil.

“We will basically be unable to access any high CBD-oil, low-THC anywhere in the United States. So I’m not sure what we will do with the card,” Sally Gaer said at the Monday meeting. Gaer’s daughter has severe epilepsy.

Changes In Iowa Medical Marijuana Law Appear Unlikely

IOWA:  Iowa is unlikely to expand its limited medical marijuana law soon, a leading legislator said.

“I think we made the changes that we made last year, and we’ll want to see how it works” before debating the issue further, House Speaker Kraig Paulsen said.

The Republican from Hiawatha said he doubted members of his party would want to take major steps on the issue in the 2015 session.

The Legislature last May passed a tightly limited bill that was supposed to allow families to obtain a marijuana extract to treat children with severe epilepsy. Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican who had long voiced skepticism about legalizing marijuana for any purpose, expressed sympathy for the families as he signed the bill into law.