Iowa charges medical marijuana patient from Arizona with possession
An Arizona woman had her charges for possession of marijuana upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court after she was pulled over for speeding and presented her medical marijuana registry card to the police. Pamela Middlekauff, 55, admitted to the arresting officers that she had “quite a bit of marijuana” in the car after they recognized the scent. Officers charged Middlekauff with possession, a serious misdemeanor in Iowa, and the state’s Supreme Court upheld her conviction by a split 4-3 decision.
In Iowa, it is illegal to possess a controlled substance unless it was obtained “directly from, or pursuant to, a valid prescription or order of a practitioner.” While Middlekauff had obtained a medical marijuana card in Arizona, the split court ultimately ruled that her card does not permit her to possess the Schedule I substance in Iowa.
Iowa has a medical marijuana program of its own but, by law, does not accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards at dispensaries. However, there is a provision in the state’s law that permits cardholders from other states to possess cannabis products that fall within the Iowa guidelines. Unfortunately for Middlekauff, marijuana flower is prohibited under Iowa’s medical marijuana program.
Had the 55-year-old patient been in possession of vaporized THC products or other accepted forms, her Arizona medical card would have served as a get-out-of-jail-free card. However, because she was in possession of marijuana in its flower form, the court ruled that she was not within her rights.
The Iowa Supreme Court’s decision sets precedent for future cases. Out-of-state cardholders who are making their way through Iowa may want to check in with the state’s cannabis laws before freely driving through with an ounce of flower. Perhaps this will prompt legislators to loosen the restrictions on their program. Or maybe voters will take the wheel in 2022 and expand Iowa’s program to be less exclusive.