Undeterred, Iowa medical cannabis plan proceeds

Undeterred, Iowa medical cannabis plan proceeds

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions addresses the National Law Enforcement Conference on Human Exploitation in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Aluka Berry DES MOINES — The federal government’s top attorney wants the freedom to prosecute states — such as Iowa — with medical marijuana programs, a letter made public last week shows. But Iowa officials insist the state’s newly expanded program, which includes the chance for two businesses to grow and sell medical cannabis, will remain safe from federal scrutiny. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote a letter to congressional leaders opposing language in the federal budget that prohibits the Justice Department from using its resources to prosecute states that adopt medical marijuana laws. The provision was written into the budget when then-President Barack Obama’s Justice Department began cracking down on medical marijuana vendors. Originally Obama said the department would not prosecute vendors and patients who adhere to state laws. Marijuana is not recognized by the federal government as a medicinal plant, so state medical marijuana programs run afoul of federal drug control laws. A total of 29 states have medical marijuana laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Iowa’s program was introduced in 2014 with a very narrow focus. It allowed only for the possession and use of physician-prescribed cannabidiol for treatment of epileptic seizures. This year, the GOP-controlled Statehouse approved an expansion, adding more covered ailments, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDs and Parkinson’s disease, and legalizing the growth and sale of medical cannabis in Iowa. The letter Sessions’ letter was addressed to congressional Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. It was dated May 1 and published last week by the website MassRoots.com and later verified by the Washington Post. “I believe it would be […]

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