Medical marijuana sales started Monday in the State of Illinois. Iowa law only allows possession of cannabis oil for the treatment of chronic epilepsy, which primarily afflicts children, but the oil is not sold in Iowa.
This spring Governor Terry Branstad suggested Iowans with a state-issued card allowing possession of cannabis oil might be able to go to Illinois to buy it. But Branstad’s administration has not made progress on that idea.
“I don’t know that there’s been anything done on that yet,” Branstad told reporters Monday.
Current Illinois law only lets Illinois residents buy medical marijuana products from dispensaries in that state. Medical marijuana sales began in Minnesota July 1st, but only Minnesota residents can buy it there as well. Iowa parents caring for children with intractible epilepsy say buying cannabis oil elsewhere is difficult, if not impossible, so the Iowa law that decriminalizing possession of cannabis oil needs to be changed. Branstad said he has sympathy for those parents, but is concerned about what’s going on with recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington state.
“We’re continuing to look at that very carefully,” Branstad said. “Certainly we have empathy for those people with epilepsy and want to make sure they are able to get it, but that only those people that have epilepsy are the only ones that are able to get it and those that have the authorization from their physicians.”
Medical marijuana dispensaries opened in Chicago and four other Illinois cities Monday after “cultivation centers” got the go-ahead to start shipping marijuana to retailers last week. In December, a medical marijuana dispensary is scheduled to open in Milan, Illinois — which is in the Quad Cities area.