Fearing that one wrong move might send the Justice Department into a frenzy of prosecutions, Iowa’s Attorney General is begging the state to reconsider an extension to its medical marijuana program designed to allow certain “out of state” companies to distribute cannabis oil to its patients.
According to the Associated Press, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is asking the Iowa Department of Public Health not to move forward with a plan giving companies from neighboring states permission to transport cannabis oil across state lines.
Miller’s office says any attempt to implement this part of the state’s medical marijuana law could bring down some serious, unwanted heat from the federal government, all because crossing over into bordering states with anything derived from the cannabis plant is considered drug trafficking.
Although lawmakers devised this provision in an effort to give patients easy access to cannabis oil, state officials understand that it is a sure fire way to get a rise out of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
But legislative leadership wants the Trump administration to leave Iowa and other legal states alone.
“As I’ve said before, the federal government needs to act on this issue or let the states do their work,” said House Speaker Linda Upmeyer. “The out-of-state distributors are the quickest way to supply sick Iowans with a product that doctors say could be beneficial. If that provision doesn’t work out, then people will have to wait another year, and that’s disappointing.”
Marijuana advocates say Iowa would not be in this position if the state legislature would simply pass a law allowing the creation of its own cultivation and distribution system.
“This is just another example of lawmakers overcomplicating something for the sake of overcomplicating it, rather than implementing a system that actually serves their constituents,” said Justin Strekal, political director for NORML.
For now, the only way Iowa patients can get their hands on cannabis oil is to smuggle it in from a legal state. This method, of course, puts them at risk at being slapped with federal drug trafficking charges.
Earlier this year, AG Sessions said, “If you are a drug trafficker, we will not look the other way. We will not be willfully blind to your conduct,” adding that, “These are not low-level offenders. These are drug dealers. And you’re going to prison.”