Iowa Senate Passes Medical Cannabis Reforms

Iowa’s Senate has approved expansions to the state’s medical cannabis program; the bill is now headed to the governor’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law.

Full story after the jump.

The Iowa Senate has passed a modest expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program which has already passed the House and has the approval of Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds, the Cherokee Tribune & Ledger News reports. The measure would replace the state’s current 3 percent THC limit with a per-patient limit of 4.5 grams of THC-rich cannabis over 90 days and allows that cap to increase with a physician recommendation or if the patient is terminally ill.

The bill also adds intractable autism and post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying conditions.

Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D) said during the debate that the measure doesn’t actually improve the program and will ultimately make it weaker than the current regime. Bolkcom also opposed a provision in the law allowing businesses to deny unemployment insurance to former employees who test positive for cannabis. The senator said that rule would have a disparate impact on low-income and minority communities.

“Here we are, five years after passing our original law … and tonight you’re going to make it even worse. Wow. No small task, colleagues.” – Bolkcom, during the debate, via the Tribune & Ledger News

Last year, the Iowa Legislature passed a bill to remove the THC cap and allow patients to access 25 grams of THC over 90 days, along with a host of other program changes, but that measure was vetoed by Reynolds on the grounds that the reforms were opposed by the state medical cannabis board.

Iowa‘s program prohibits smoking, allowing only capsules, extracts, concentrates, lotions, ointments, and tinctures. The measure passed the Senate 32-17 and moves next to Reynolds, who is expected to sign the bill.

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