David E. Drake, Iowa View contributor Published 3:31 p.m. CT June 29, 2018

A marijuana cigarette(Photo: Special to the Des Moines Register)

In Iowa, I always had to warn folks in my psychiatry practice about the legal consequences of using marijuana. Now I practice in Colorado where it’s commonplace and no big deal.

I see no one walking down the street smoking weed, and even while living in a resort community I just don’t see the mayhem that some have predicted. A column from CNBC on “Pot Power” noted this about Colorado: “Since becoming the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, that industry has been growing like the plant itself.  Last year (2017) the state took in $198.5 million in tax revenue from in-state marijuana sales of $1.3 billion.”

Think of what Iowa could do with an extra $200 million for education and social services.

As a new practitioner in my shortage area (which is anywhere and everywhere in the U.S.), I show a still surprised smile with each person I meet who shares their cannabis story: an elderly man brings in all of his medicines including his assortment of marijuana compounds — some in gummy bear form and others as creams or salves. Numerous folks use cannabis compounds instead of or in addition to medications for chronic pain, PTSD symptoms, and even mood.

On the personal side, a high school classmate in Denver puts a little THC oil in his bedtime tea so he sleeps better — folks here use “recreational” (I prefer “personal”) marijuana for a wide variety of symptoms.  An acquaintance in a neighboring community greets guests with “Wine? Beer? Puff?” Those with a medical card — approved yearly by a physician for a fee — buy their product for less and so the market for medical cards continues.

Iowa languishes

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