Governor Branstad says he’ll “very likely” sign a bill into law which would allow the use of cannabis oil to treat a chronic form of epilepsy. The Republican made the statement Thursday during a stop in northern Iowa’s Hamilton County. Branstad has said he wants to make sure there are no “unintended consequences” if he signs the bill.
The governor noted although the oil is derived from a marijuana plant, it does not contain intoxicating qualities. “There is, as I understand, also a three-year sunset (in the bill) so they can see if it indeed does have positive effects for these children,” Branstad said. The governor spoke with reporters Thursday following a town hall meeting in Webster City, where he was asked about the matter by a woman who said her daughter has daily seizures and might benefit from the oil.
Branstad responded by saying he’ll “very likely” sign the legislation. “These families are very emotional. They’re going through some very difficult times and they’re very hopeful this will help,” Branstad said. “It has not been approved by the FDA, so it is very much experimental.”
The legislation approved by Iowa lawmakers last week is modeled after bills recently signed into law in Utah and Alabama. “I talked to both of those governors and they both felt this was a good thing,” Branstad said. “Now, they just passed it, so they haven’t had a lot of experience with it yet.” If Branstad signs the bill, patients with “intractable” epilepsy would need a neurologist’s recommendation to use cannabis oil as a treatment.
There is nowhere in Iowa to legally obtain cannabis oil, so families would have to go out of state to get it.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)