Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) vetoed legislation on Friday that would have taken multiple steps toward expanding the state’s limited medical cannabis program, the Des Moines Register reports.
The bill had passed through both legislative chambers with sweeping approval — 96-3 in the House and 40-7 in the Senate — but the governor cited concerns about “the health and safety of Iowans” and said her veto was based on the state medical cannabis board’s recommendations.
“Ultimately, I believe Iowa must proceed cautiously to ensure that any expansion of our medical (cannabidiol) program is thoughtful and deliberate — particularly because Iowa’s program is in its infancy and the body of research that analyzes the efficacy of medical CBD is limited.” — Gov. Kim Reynolds, via the Des Moines Register
Iowa‘s five-year-old medical cannabis program is already quite restricted — THC inside of medical cannabis products is capped at just 3 percent and the program only allows for capsules, extracts, concentrates, lotions, ointments, and tinctures, while flower products that can be smoked or vaped are not allowed.
If it had not been vetoed, the bill would have:
- Replaced the state’s THC cap with a new system that would allow patients to access up to 25 grams of THC over a 90-day period.
- Changed the program’s “untreatable pain” qualifying condition to just “severe or chronic pain,” which would have given more patients access to the program.
- Allowed additional health care professionals to make medical cannabis recommendations.
- Removed a ban on felons participating in the program.
- Established a system for state health officials to collect and analyze data associated with the program.
- Given terminal patients a waiver allowing for unlimited THC.
On the day before the veto, activists submitted a petition with nearly 1,600 signatures calling for Gov. Reynolds to sign the bill.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, there are more than 2,800 active patient registration cards in the state’s medical cannabis program.