MASON CITY | Mason City Police Capt. Mike McKelvey said Thursday he understands why legalization of marijuana for medical uses is an emotional one for many Iowans.

But he said, like most issues, it has potential impact on many aspects of society, including law enforcement.

McKelvey was recently appointed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to a state board that will oversee changes in the state's expanded medical cannabidoil law.

He hopes to use his experience as a police officer to add perspective to the board which is made up mainly of physicians and others in the health field. McKelvey is the only law enforcement officer on the board.

A Mason City police officer for 23 years, McKelvey is vice president of the Iowa Peace Officers Association.

"We know there is interest out there in further legalization of medical marijuana but as peace officers, we have some concerns," he said. "As similar programs have been implemented in other states, some problems have occurred.

"There are ramifications from this for police departments, schools, public health and many other areas. We want to make sure we have input in moving this forward and not doing things too quickly," McKelvey said.

He joined the police department in 1994, was promoted to lieutenant in 2002 and captain in 2006. Last year he was a finalist for police chief when Jeff Brinkley was hired.

The new state law, known as the Medical Cannabidiol Act, requires a board made up of eight medical practitioners and one law enforcement officer to oversee application of the law.

Previously, Iowans could obtain medical cannabidiol to treat epileptic seizures but did not allow for production and sale of it.

The new law allows for the creation of no more than two businesses to grown marijuana and produce medical cannabidiol and no more than five businesses to sell it.

Other board members are Dr. Ken Cheyne, a Clive pediatrician; Dr. Jill Liesveld, a Coralville psychiatrist; Dr. Wendy Zadeh, an Ankeny neurologist; Dr. Jacqueline Stoken, a Waukee pain manager; Dr. Robert Schreck, a Des Moines oncologist; Dr. Lonny Miller, a Creston family medicine specialist; and Dr. Stephen Richards, a Spirit Lake pharmacist. One position is yet to be filled.


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