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Inside of the Iowa State Capitol's dome in Des Moines, Iowa.

Phil Roeder

Iowa’s state Senate has advanced the Compassionate Use of Cannabis Act that would replace the state’s existing, albeit limited, regime and enact a more comprehensive program, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports. If passed by the Assembly and signed by the governor, the legislation would allow the cultivation and manufacture of medical cannabis products and set up a network of dispensaries; doctors would be able to make recommendations for medical cannabis use for approved qualifying conditions.

Democratic State Sen. Matt McCoy said that many people who advocated for the legislation have died waiting for the legislature to act.

“I think this is the right thing to do,” he said in the report.

Under the measure, up to four licensed manufacturers would be permitted to possess, cultivate, transport, or supply medical cannabis, while up to 12 dispensaries would be licensed to distribute to patients. According to the bill, manufacturers would be licensed by July 2, 2018, and dispensaries by July 26, 2018. Both manufacturers and dispensaries would pay a non-refundable $15,000 fee.

A medical cannabis advisory board comprised of nine health care practitioners and three patients or primary caregivers would be responsible for adding additional conditions.

The bill passed the Assembly 45-5 and now moves to the House where support is reportedly uncertain.

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