Ten things Iowa Democrats should do

Rod Sullivan is a Johnson County supervisor. -promoted by Laura Belin

Democrats struggled through the 2016 postmortem. Why did Hillary Clinton lose? Was it an archaic, racist Electoral College? Yes. Racism? Yes. Sexism? Yes. Economic anxiety? Yes. Russia? Yes. Comey? Yes. Because she was deeply disliked? Yes. Because she ran a bad campaign? Yes. All are legitimate reasons for her loss.

The reason Democrats nationally have had such a difficult time with this is really pretty simple: We want a silver bullet. We want there to be one thing we need to fix. We refuse to recognize that multiple things can be true at once. Until we recognize this, we will not improve our performance.

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State seeking federal exemption for Iowa's medical cannabis program

Carl Olsen, the founder of Iowans for Medical Marijuana, brings us up to date on his efforts to reconcile state and federal drug laws. -promoted by Laura Belin

Retail sales of medical cannabis products began in Iowa on December 1, 2018, implementing Iowa House File 524, which lawmakers passed on the final day of the 2017 legislative session.

Iowans for Medical Marijuana submitted an application to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in January 2019, seeking to exempt Iowa’s Medical Cannabis Program from federal drug laws. That application used the process in Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 1307, 21 C.F.R. §1307.03. I then began to lobby the state legislature and the Iowa Department of Public Health to support the application.

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No Justice No Peace: Elections, actions, and activism

Rob Johnson, Al Womble, and Eddie Mauro of the New Frontier Fund jointly authored this commentary. The No Justice No Peace PAC is online at www.njnppac.com. -promoted by Laura Belin

History is a curious thing. Our understanding of our past changes with time – moving through phases where our perception shifts, evolves and deepens. This examination of our history is constant, and it happens in the public sphere through discussions via social media, the news, commentary, and politics.

We are in the midst of a significant reorganization and shift in how we see, hear, and experience the history of race in America. It’s colliding with a time when Americans fundamentally re-evaluate how we relate to our institutions of government, our neighbors, and our local communities.

This confrontation is messy. It’s fraught with conflict. And it’s necessary.

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Why I'm asking Iowa to seek an exemption from federal drug laws

Carl Olsen recounts his long battle to reschedule cannabis and the latest legal steps in his effort to reconcile state and federal drug laws. -promoted by Laura Belin

Last month, I filed a petition with the Iowa Department of Public Health, asking the agency to start the process of obtaining a federal exemption for Iowa’s medical cannabis law.

I had presented this idea to Iowa’s Medical Cannabidiol Board in August 2019. The board members unanimously approved the concept and recommended in January 2020 that the legislature protect schools and long-term care facilities, which “are hesitant to allow medical cannabidiol products to be administered and stored at the facilities due to the current scheduling of Cannabis at the federal level.” The board suggested “Developing language to protect these facilities or seeking exemption for Iowa’s program from federal drug laws.”

Instead of adopting my proposal, Republican lawmakers approved and Governor Kim Reynolds signed House File 2589, which instructed the Department of Public Health to “request guarantees” from federal agencies that they would not withhold federal funding from educational or long-term care facilities that allow patients to possess or staff to administer medical cannabidiol.

That approach makes no sense, because it would put Iowa in direct conflict with federal drug law. As I wrote in my petition, “There is no formal process for requesting guarantees from federal agencies not to withhold funding for violation of federal drug laws.”

Here’s why Iowa should take a different path.

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Minority impact statements in Iowa: History and continuing efforts

Marty Ryan of Des Moines lobbied the Iowa legislature for 27 years and now blogs weekly. -promoted by Laura Belin

The Iowa quarter, printed in the latter part of 2004, is based upon a Grant Wood painting depicting a group of students and their teacher planting a tree outside of a county school. The statement on the coin says, “Foundation In Education.” For many decades, Iowa was noted for its first-in-the-nation education status. Likewise, Iowa has been a consistent leader in civil rights.

In fact, Iowa established some standards of equality long before the federal government or other states.

But racial disparities continue to affect Iowans in many areas of life. A reform the Democratic-controlled legislature enacted more than a decade ago has only slightly mitigated the problem.

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A decision made with head and heart for Amy Klobuchar

Janice Weiner is a city council member in Iowa City and a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer. -promoted by Laura Belin

I’m someone who makes decisions with a combination of head and heart. I learned during my Foreign Service career that I needed both, and I applied that when considering the impressive field of Democratic presidential candidates. Do they speak to me personally? Do their policies make sense? We in Iowa are so fortunate to have this opportunity – not just to see candidates at a rally and read their platforms and policies – but to get to know them as people. And they us, as well.

Like so many others, I trekked to events for countless candidates. Last May, as a part of that process, I attended the Klobuchar campaign’s mental health/addiction panel in Iowa City, screwed up my courage, and told the senator my story. I’m a retired Foreign Service Officer, and I’m raising my granddaughter because my daughter cannot, because of her struggles with dual diagnosis – mental health and addiction, rolled into one. We are not unique – how I wish we were.

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