DES MOINES --- Two justices on Iowa's high court said people should be able to argue they have a medical need for marijuana to defend against criminal drug charges.
But the majority of Iowa Supreme Court justices disagreed in a case concerning Lloyd Dean Bonjour, a Floyd County AIDS patient.
They upheld Bonjour's conviction for manufacturing marijuana.
Bonjour was arrested after Floyd County sheriff's deputies found marijuana plants and bagged marijuana in his home in 2000.
He tried to argue that the illegal drug was a medical necessity, and during a pre-trial hearing he called Dr. Jeffery Meier, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Iowa.
Meier had treated Bonjour and testified the pot counteracts the poor appetite, nausea and other side effects of the toxic medications his patient takes for AIDS.
The physician said he first tried treating Bonjour with Marinol, which is a synthetic version of marijuana's THC. But Bonjour told him the symptoms were better controlled with real marijuana.
"One could say that marijuana might have been lifesaving in this particular case," Meier testified.