March 3, 2015

‘Intrepid group of mothers’ credited for cannabis oil bill’s success

The top two leaders in the Iowa Senate say passage of a bill to decriminalize possession of cannabis oil for treatment of chronic epilepsy shows it doesn’t take campaign contributions or paid lobbyists to get legislators to act.

“Here’s a great example of ordinary citizens, coming to a legislature, asking us to listen with a compelling story with no lobby for this, no PAC money behind this,” Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal said Friday on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program. “This was an intrepid group of mothers and I think it’s great that the legislature responded to that.”

Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix who was also a guest on the program said it’s a “shining example” of how government can respond to its citizens.

“Mothers and families came to the legisature, identified a problem, a solution to a problem and in a bipartisan effort found a way to move that solution forward and hopefully allow for the improvement in people’s lives,” Dix said.

The House voted 75 to 20 early Thursday morning to send the bill to the governor, who has a month to decide whether to approve or veto the measure. It would require patients with “intractable” epilepsy to get an Iowa doctor’s recommendation to take an oil derived from the marijuana plant as a treatment.

However, there is no where in Iowa to legally obtain cannabis oil, so families will have to go out of state to get it. Supporters say the oil cannot be used to get high and is leading to dramatic improvement in children who are taking it. Critics say there’s a lack of medical evidence showing the oil is an effective treatment for seizures.