After hours of behind-the-scenes negotiations, the Iowa House on a 75-20 vote has approved a bill that would legalize possession of an oil derived from the marijuana plant for treatment of severe epilepsy. Representative Jarad Klein, a Republican from Washington, was the bill’s floor manager.
“We’ve been working on this bill an awful lot today,” Klein said. “Where we stand right now is I think that Iowans can be very proud. We’ve come together between the parties, between different factions, urban (and) rural legislators to put together what I believe is a good piece of legislation.”
Representative Bob Kressig, a Democrat from Cedar Falls, credited a small group of parents, mostly mothers, who have epileptic children for lobbying legislators day after day on this issue.
“What we’re offering today is hope for these families,” Kressig said.
A pharmacist who is a member of the House estimates about 100 patients in Iowa might get a doctor’s recommendation to take the oil if this proposal becomes law. The lifespan of children diagnosed with intractable epilepsy is dramatically shortened not only by the condition, but by the powerful prescription and experimental drugs they take to try to reduce the duration and intensity of their seizures.
The Iowa Senate approved the bill to decriminalize cannabis oil last Friday. The House this morning made some changes in the bill before passing it shortly after 3:30 a.m. Senators must review the bill again and vote to approve the alterations.
Senate action on the bill will likely be the concluding vote of the 2014 legislative session. The House passed a resolution to mark the end of the legislative session shortly after 4 a.m., but House leaders are waiting to formally adjourn until senators take their final votes.