Update on efforts to obtain a federal cannabis exemption for Iowa

Carl Olsen is the founder of Iowans for Medical Marijuana. promoted by Laura Belin

In February 2019, I asked the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Board, which regulates our state’s medical cannabis program, if there was anything we could be doing about federal drug law, such as obtaining a federal exemption (21 C.F.R. § 1307.03) like the one that currently exists for another federal Schedule I controlled substance, peyote (21 C.F.R. § 1307.31).

In August 2019, at my request, the board recommended that the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) obtain a federal exemption for cannabis. However, the department refused, saying none of the other 46 states that have enacted medical cannabis laws have requested federal exemptions, and that Iowans were not being injured by the federal criminalization of cannabis.

Keep in mind that patients had been testifying before the board about discrimination in schools and health care facilities because of the federal criminalization of cannabis. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller signed a September 2019 bipartisan letter from attorneys general saying the current federal policy “poses a serious threat to public safety.”

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Governor joins suit challenging limits on state tax cuts

Governor Kim Reynolds signed Iowa on to a lawsuit challenging part of the federal government’s most recent COVID-19 relief package. Thirteen states filed suit in Alabama on March 31, charging that the American Rescue Plan “impermissibly seizes tax authority from the States.” Reynolds announced the lawsuit during a March 31 appearance on WHO Radio’s program hosted by Simon Conway. The Associated Press was first to report the news.

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Best of Bleeding Heartland's original reporting in 2020

My primary goal in running this website is to provide Iowa political news and analysis that’s not available anywhere else. I’m proud of what Bleeding Heartland accomplished in 2020 and want to highlight some of the investigative reporting and accountability journalism published first or exclusively here.

A forthcoming post will review the site’s most popular pieces from 2020, which included many I worked hardest on or most enjoyed writing.

As always, I’m grateful for readers whose appetite for this kind of reporting keeps me going.

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Kim Reynolds backs effort to overturn 2020 presidential election

Governor Kim Reynolds would have joined the Texas attorney general’s lawsuit seeking to throw out the presidential election results in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia, she announced on December 10. The same day, Reynolds rejected Attorney General Tom Miller’s request to sign on in support of the defendants in that case.

Reynolds said in a campaign statement, “As I have said all along, President Trump, his campaign, and supporters have every right to pursue lawful, legal action in the courts. The American people deserve a fair and transparent election.”

Meanwhile, Reynolds and other prominent Iowa Republicans continue to denounce Rita Hart for appealing the second Congressional district result to the U.S. House–a step federal law allows.

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Steve King joined effort to toss Pennsylvania election result (updated)

Outgoing U.S. Representative Steve King was one of 23 Republican members of Congress who sought unsuccessfully this week to have the U.S. Supreme Court throw out Pennsylvania’s presidential election.

King and fellow House Republicans signed an amicus curiae brief supporting U.S. Representative Mike Kelly’s effort to block certification of Pennsylvania’s 2020 election results. Kelly argued that “the state legislature’s provision of no-excuse absentee voting violated both the Pennsylvania and U.S. Constitutions.”

Iowa has long had no-excuse voting by mail, and to my knowledge, King has never suggested that system is unconstitutional. Neither King nor his Congressional staff responded to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiry about the apparent inconsistency. In the past month, King has amplified false claims of election fraud on his social media feeds.

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