An Iowa Lawmaker's Covert Pot Ops

| Thu Jan. 27, 2011 1:46 PM EST

In 2009, Iowa State Rep. Clel Baudler, a Republican from Greenfield, told me that he was thinking of fibbing his way into getting a medical marijuana card the next time he visited California. I laughed, but it turns out he wasn't joking. In October, the 71-year-old former state trooper and ardent drug warrior sent a letter to his constituents detailing how he'd visited the notoriously pot-friendly Golden State, falsely told a doctor that he suffered from depression and hemorrhoids, and scored a license to inhale. (Read Josh Harkinson's story on just how easy it is to get a pot card in California.)

Why the covert ops? "In essence, I got my prescription to show how asinine it would be to legalize 'medical marijuana,'" wrote Baudler, who opposes a proposal to pass a medical pot law in his home state. "Some of the states that have legalized 'medical marijuana' are now having trouble 'putting the toothpaste back in the tube.' They are attempting to backpedal, which is proving extremely difficult."

Yet Baudler might have to do some backpedaling of his own. Under California's Compassionate Use Act of 1996, anyone who "fraudulently represents a medical condition or fraudulently provides any material misinformation to a physician" can be tossed in jail for up to six months and fined up to $1,000. Baulder's defense: He'll gladly appear in front of an ethics board because the "oriental 'doctor'" who "only spoke broken English" probably isn't a licensed physician. 

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