House Speaker Upmeyer says she’ll oppose efforts to legalize medical marijuana this year

DES MOINES — The top Republican in the legislature is making it clear she will oppose any attempt to legalize medical marijuana in Iowa this year. House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a Republican from Clear Lake, is a nurse practitioner and she says it “makes sense” to have the federal Food and Drug Administration make that decision. “I still really believe that the FDA is the arbiter of what is a medication,” she says, “and making sure that the safety, the quality — all those things is the same for any medication.” Upmeyer says Iowa doctors worry they’ll lose their licenses and ability to write prescriptions if they advise patients to use marijuana as treatment for a medical condition. “Physicians that hold DEA licenses have just a real bit of a concern or a large concern over whether or not that jeopardizes those at all,” Upmeyer says. And Upmeyer says on January 20th of next year when a new president takes over, the federal approach to medical marijuana may change. “There are a lot of unanswered questions out there, but I still believe the FDA is the arbiter of medication and how that is managed,” Upmeyer says. One of Upmeyer’s fellow Republicans in the House has introduced legislation that would allow the cultivation of marijuana in Iowa — for producing cannabis oil to treat chronic epilepsy. That bill faces a February 19th deadline to win approval in a House committee to remain eligible for legislators to consider in 2016.

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