The following is a letter authored by Dr. Clifton Otto to Senate President Kouchi encouraging “Senate leadership to re-evaluate its position on the strategy of obtaining a federal exemption for our Medical Cannabis Program as a way to eliminate the discrimination that our patients and dispensaries are facing as a result of having to participate in a state medical cannabis program that is perceived to be in violation of federal law.


Dear President Kouchi,
I would like to bring to your attention the decision of the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to file a federal Schedule I exemption application with the DEA for their state medical cannabis program, which was revealed at yesterday’s Medical Cannabidiol Advisory Board meeting:
Please see the attached edited presentation given by their program director which clearly shows this decision.
The situation in Iowa is that their Legislature directed IDPH to obtain funding guarantees from the federal government so that certain state programs would not face the kind of loss of federal funding that Maine’s Dept of Education has been subjected to because of their state’s medical cannabis program:
The IDPH has decided that the best way to obtain such federal funding guarantees is to obtain a federal Schedule I exemption from the DEA, and they will be drafting this notification per 21 CFR 1307.03:
You can hear the discussion on this topic at yesterday’s board meeting here:
This is very similar to the action that Senator Ruderman’s federal exemption bill would have required of DOH:
I am bringing this update to your attention because I would like to encourage the Senate leadership to re-evaluate its position on the strategy of obtaining a federal exemption for our Medical Cannabis Program as a way to eliminate the discrimination that our patients and dispensaries are facing as a result of having to participate in a state medical cannabis program that is perceived to be in violation of federal law.
I know that the Office of the Attorney General provided an opinion to Senator Baker while SB2462 was being considered, but this opinion was seriously flawed, as was Senator Baker’s reasoning for deferring this bill, and I believe the federal exemption option needs to be re-considered now that another state has found it to be a valid means for resolving the current perceived conflict with federal law.
Could you please confirm receipt of this email and let me know what you think about re-addressing this issue now that another state will be proceeding with a federal exemption for their state program.
Aloha,
Clifton Otto, MD
808-233-8267
Hawaii Patients Union