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Sarah Climaco

Lawmakers in Iowa struck a deal in the early hours of Saturday morning to improve the state’s limited medical cannabis program, passing legislation that would allow in-state cultivation of plants with less than 3 percent THC and expand the qualifying condition list, the Des Moines Register reports. The current law, which only allows CBD oil possession for epilepsy treatments, is set to expire in July.

If signed by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, the low-THC cannabis oils produced in Iowa would be available to patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, AIDS and HIV, seizures, Chron’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and most terminal conditions with untreatable pain that have a life expectancy of less than one year.

The measure would also create a Medical Cannabidiol Advisory board under the authority of the Department of Public Health that could issue recommendations to expand the qualifying conditions approve for medical cannabis use and has the authority to issue a recommendation to the legislature to raise the 3 percent THC limits.

Lawmakers could have approved a far more comprehensive Senate plan which didn’t include a THC cap, would have allowed more patient access, and you have reclassified cannabis under state law.

Sen. Joe Bolkcom said that the plan approved early Saturday morning does little to help treat ailments covered by the measure.

“I am afraid it will provide a lot of false hope for the thousands of suffering Iowans who have petitioned us and really begged us,” Bolkom said in the report. “For sick Iowans, you won’t get much relief unless you get relief from hollow Republican talking points.”

Sen. Charles Schneider, said the measure is “not perfect” but that it expanded access and no longer forced people to obtain their medicine out-of-state.

“But it is a good start, and a fitting way to end this legislative session,” he said.

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