Advocates of a new state law that allows Iowans with severe epilepsy to use cannabis oil as a treatment say they’re not sure the cards issued by the State of Iowa will let them buy the product in other states or will even protect them from prosecution.

Raymond Lakers is an Iowan who has multiple sclerosis. He moved to Colorado Springs so he could legally buy marijuana there, but he doubts the Iowa children who suffer from a rare form of epilepsy will be able to get cannabis oil there.

“Every Iowan right now that wants to obtain any form of medical marijuana in the state Iowa, they are criminals — even these children — and it breaks my heart,” he said.

Iowa Department of Public Health officials held a public hearing this morning (Tuesday) on the rules they’ve drafted to administer the new law. Deborah Thompson, the department’s policy advisor, says her agency will review applications and the DOT will issue the cards that show the person has permission to possess cannabis oil. The goal is to have the system up and running by the end of the year.

“With any new program that becomes implemented, it is a lengthy process with a lot of moving parts,” she said. “But we do respect the fact that people wants this very quickly and we’re doing the best we can.”

Some people who participated in the hearing spoke in favor of expanding the law so marijuana could be used as treatment for other diseases. Linda Gale of Sioux City joined the hearing over a video conferencing system.

“I’m glad they made the first step, but there’s many other people that suffer that should not have to suffer like they do,” she said.

Gale has Crone’s Disease and she would like to use marijuana rather than prescription narcotics to control her nausea and other symptoms.