My effort to allow religious use of marijuana extracts in Iowa

Carl Olsen is the founder of Iowans for Medical Marijuana.

In October, I asked the Polk County District Court to declare religious use as a qualifying condition for participation in the state’s marijuana extract program, Iowa Code Chapter 124E.

On November 23, 2021, the state filed a Motion to Dismiss my Petition for Declaratory Judgment. The state said it had sovereign immunity and cannot be sued.

On November 24, 2021, I filed an application with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) for access to the program.

The state made three other arguments in its motion to dismiss:

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Racism, paideia, personal transformation, and activism

Edward Kelly, Jr. is a former Pentecostal Fundamentalist minister.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote in his 1963 book Why We Can’t Wait, “Suddenly the truth was revealed that hate is a contagion; that it grows and spreads as a disease; that no society is so healthy that it can automatically maintain its immunity.”

I was a vicious carrier of that disease, marked by the symptoms of fear, hatred, and bigotry. I carried and spread it as a contagion for 30 years as a Fundamentalist preacher. I took great pride in my views, even referring to myself from the pulpit as a “Bible Bigot”—as if intolerance based on scripture was morally acceptable.

In 1996, while serving as an interim pastor in a small Assembly of God Church in eastern Iowa, I experienced a depressive suicidal crisis. There is something to be said about the Buddhist practice of accepting suffering as a part of the human experience. My depressive episode opened me up to introspection. After treatment, I began a long process—taking two decades—involving paideia.

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After 9/11, we weren't all in this together

I spent much of Saturday reading or watching eyewitness accounts or reflections on the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

I was living in the UK, so the first half of my day passed routinely as I worked on my dissertation at home. Nothing unusual was on the BBC newscast I watched over my lunch break. The first plane struck the World Trade Center a little before 2:00 pm. I got a call soon after urging me to turn on the television and watched the horror unfold for the rest of the day and evening.

The attacks were a top news story in the UK for a long time. Most people don’t know 9/11 was the deadliest terrorist incident in British history. At least 67 UK citizens lost their lives, mostly in the World Trade Center or on the airplanes. No Irish Republican Army bombing had ever claimed nearly as many victims. For weeks afterward, I remember random strangers in London offering their condolences for what happened to my country as soon as they heard my American accent.

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Five quick takes on news of the day

Herb Strentz reflects on stories that have been in the news lately. -promoted by Laura Belin

Readers of Bleeding Heartland have much to be grateful for in the state government reporting of editor Laura Belin and in her conscientious editing of what others post here. But sometimes our thoughts don’t merit or need the 700 or more words that occupy Bleeding Heartland space and readers’ time. 

Here are five quick takes on recent events, each of whose urgency, impact, or nature can be handled in fewer than 170 words.

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I'm worried about the church

Kurt Meyer chairs the Executive Committee of Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) and is President of Humanities Iowa. For the past year, he has written a weekly column for the (St. Ansgar) Enterprise Journal, where this commentary first appeared.  -promoted by Laura Belin

I’m worried about the church. I’m not talking here about my local congregation, the church in Mona. I’m not thinking about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the denomination I affiliate with. I’m not even referring to Christianity in general, although this is my primary concern.

Concern about “the church” is directed toward religion in America. Mark me down as one who believes in religion and its practice. It’s a major factor in my life and in lives of many I love. Additionally, I have worked with and for many churches and faith-based organizations over the years, professionally and as a volunteer, in relationships that are both deep and meaningful. 

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Anti-LGBTQ bills are dead, but their message lives on

First in a series on where things stand after the Iowa legislature’s first “funnel” deadline.

State lawmakers set a depressing record this year for attempting to undermine the rights of LGBTQ Iowans.

Although all fifteen of those bills failed to meet a key legislative deadline last week, three had previously made it through Iowa Senate subcommittees. And none were condemned by Governor Kim Reynolds or GOP leaders in the House or Senate.

Until powerful Republicans disavow efforts to target the LGBTQ community, queer Iowans and particularly trans Iowans face the prospect of more attacks in the GOP-controlled legislature.

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