Governor Terry Branstad is giving his first indication that he would be open to signing a limited medical marijuana bill into law this legislative session. Branstad recently met with parents who want to use an oil derived from marijuana to help their children who have seizures.
Branstad, a Republican, says he’s talked with the governor of Utah, who approved such a law. “One of our big problems today is people abusing prescription drugs that are meant for somebody else. We don’t want to create more problems –we don’t want unintended consequences,” Branstad says. “But, it looks like we could end up with something that is very limited in focus like was passed recently in Utah and Alabama. And I’m certainly working with legislators to see if there’s the possibility of working something out on that before the legislature adjourns.”
Branstad made the comments during Monday’s “River to River” show on Iowa Public Radio. Branstad says the Utah and Alabama laws relate to a non-hallucinogenic oil extracted from cannabis, and are very limited. “It doesn’t legalize it, but it means that you wouldn’t prosecute somebody that has it strictly to meet their health needs,” Branstad says.
The governor would consider signing such legislation. “I would, if it is, I have a lot of respect for the Governor of Utah, and what they’ve done, and I want to visit with the Governor of Alabama. And I’m working with the legislature to see — I want to talk with law enforcement and the people who deal with drug abuse to make sure this is not something that is going to create problems for them,” Branstad says.
The governor up to now has called for more documentation on the benefits — and the possible abuse of marijuana — if it was approved for medical use in the state.