No special committee on medical marijuana, governor says it’s not needed

DES MOINES — Top Republican lawmakers at the statehouse have denied a request from Democrats to start a special committee to study the state’s medical marijuana program. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds vetoed a bipartisan bill passed this year that would’ve allowed for more potent medical marijuana products.

Representative John Forbes, a Democrat from Urbandale, says it would help with crafting a proposal to expand the program.   “The thought was if we could have this interim committee meeting, bring public members in and voice their opinion and concerns, I think that strengthens our bill and allows other legislators the opportunity to be able to hear what their constituents are saying too,” Forbes says.

Governor Reynolds says she isn’t interested in an interim legislative committee. Reynolds says there already is a process for reviewing the rules that was included in the initial law.  “They put in place as part of that an advisory board…. and they were very prescriptive about who served on that advisory board so we have the expertise to make decisions going forward,” Reynolds says.

Reynolds says she vetoed the bill over the provision that would have let more potent cannabis pills, oils and creams be produced and sold in Iowa. Something that was not approved by the advisory board. “So out of the eight or so policy pieces that were included in that bill — seven of them, my numbers may be off — but every one but one was a recommendation of the policy board. So that’s an indication to me that it’s working,” Reynolds says.

Reynolds says she wants to see what the advisory board thinks before signing off on expanding the potency of the medical marijuana. “There is a great big range between where we are at right now and what was proposed last year. And I would be interest again in hearing what the advisory board that the legislature put together and passed and was signed into law, I would be interested in their input as well,” she says.

Reynolds says lawmakers should work through the policy board to make changes instead of another committee.  “They created it, it’s already there, so work with them,” Reynolds says. “This is legislation that passed both chambers that was sent to the governor an signed into law. So, it seems to me that that’s the role of this policy board that they put into place.”

Reynolds made her comments Wednesday following an event. Lawmakers failed in an attempt to get enough votes to call a special session to override the veto.

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