February 11, 2016

Governor Branstad will sign cannabis oil bill into law

Governor Terry Branstad says he has decided to sign into law the bill that will decriminalize possession of an oil derived from the marijuana plant as for treatment of chronic epilepsy.

“The legislature and I were convinced, I think, by a lot of the families that have children that are epileptics and have these severe seizures that this is something that can help them,” Branstad says. “We wanted to avoid unforseen circumstances and I think the bill that passed is very limited.”

Branstad notes the bill requires a patient to have an Iowa doctor’s recommendation to take the cannabis oil, plus the bill limits the quantity to 32 ounces, which experts say would be enough to treat most patients with intractable epilepsy for six months.

“And I believe this is something that will give some hope to these families who have members that are suffering from epilepsy and deal with these severe seizures,” Branstad says.

Brnastad plans to sign the bill into law next week. The governor opposes expanding the law to decriminalize cannabis oil as a treatment for other chronic conditions or for post traumatic stress.

“We worked very closely with the legislators through this process to try to make sure it was very focused, very targeted, very limited and that it wouldn’t get in the hands of people that want to use it for other purposes and it can’t be smoked,” Branstaad says. “This is an oil that is used strictly to treat epilepsy and it’s just for that purpose.”

The governor made his comments during taping of the “Iowa Press” program which airs at 7:30 this evening on Iowa Public Television.

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