Iowa’s Attorney General’s office has advised the state Department of Health to halt a plan to license two out-of-state dispensaries to import cannabis oil into Iowa, the Associated Press reports. The directive was due to concerns that the plan would bring unwanted federal scrutiny to the state’s medical cannabis program.
The proposal is, of course, illegal under federal law, but was included in the legislature-approved bill because some Republican leaders in the Legislature hoped it would allow for the state to partner with bordering state with medical cannabis programs, such as Minnesota.
The move by the attorney general is not expected to impact other portions of the law and in-state production of cannabis oil is still expected by the end of next year. Some lawmakers were frustrated with the development because it would have seen more people able to access cannabis oils while the state was setting up its own infrastructure.
Justin Strekal, political director for NORML, told the AP the plan was “just another example of lawmakers overcomplicating something for the sake of overcomplicating it” rather than setting up a comprehensive medical cannabis regime.
House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a Republican, said that no matter what the Legislature had done it was in violation of federal law.
“As I’ve said before, the federal government needs to act on this issue or let the states do their work,” she said in the report. “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.”
A spokesman for the Attorney General’s office said Iowa shouldn’t move forward with the import plan “until the federal government provides further guidance regarding state medical marijuana programs.”