Six of the 10 members of a legislative committee say it’s time for Iowa to make growing and distributing marijuana legal, if it’s used for medical purposes.
Iowa has a new law that allows possession of cannabis oil as treatment of severe epilepsy, but parents of seizure-prone children say too many barriers still exist since they have to go out of state to get it. Sally Gaer of West Des Moines has a daughter who has been diagnosed with a severe and chronic form of epilepsy.
“We can and must do better,” Gaer said Thursday.”Iowa needs to have its own cannabis grown in the state. Growing and dispensing fits in with the healthiest state initiative.”
That’s a reference to Governor Terry Branstad’s push to improve Iowa’s ranking among the state on health issues. Gaer spoke Thursday to the 10-member legislative committee assembled to review the new state law that decriminalized possession of cannabis oil and consider changes to it. Gaer said at least two dozen states regulate the production and distribution of cannabis oil, but only for their own residents, so Iowa families are left out.
“Working together, we can come up with a program that can benefit our medically fragile and the leader in the nation in safety and common sense,” Gaer said. “This program has to include growing, processing and distributing the medicine in Iowa.”
All five Democrats and one of the five Republicans on the committee voted for such a move, although the Republican who voted yes only supports providing the cannabis oil that might be produced in Iowa to chronic epileptics.
Legislative leaders appointed the 10-member committee to review the new state law on cannabis oil and consider changes to it. Their recommendations will be drafted in a report and presented to all 150 legislators in January.