Governor Terry Branstad remains opposed to legalizing marijuana for recreational use in Iowa, but Branstad says he’s willing to work with advocates worried about the soon-to-end Iowa law that decriminalized possession of cannabis oil for treatment of chronic epilepsy.
“We don’t want people to lose something they think will be helpful or that has been helpful to members of their family,” Branstad says. The law is set to expire July 1st.
“I intend to work with the legislature as well as with the (Governor’s) Office of Drug Control (Policy) as we look at what is the appropriate thing to do,” Branstad says. The group “Iowans for Medical Cannabis” has been lobbying legislators and the governor to expand the law. They want those who suffer from other serious and terminal illnesses to be able to legally use cannabis as treatment for symptoms like nausea and pain. Branstad says he wants to review the experiences of patients as well as the latest medical research about cannabis.
“I’ve always said I have an open mind in looking at what is the best and most effective way to deal with it and do it in a way that’s not going to open up the possibility of abuse by people who want to use marijuana for recreational purposes,” Branstad says. Advocates for the use of cannabis oil, patches and other products as treatment for a variety of illnesses argue the products should be made and produced in Iowa if the state legalizes possession of it. Branstad says he wants to “carefully review” how grow-and-dispense operations in the neighboring states of Illinois and Minnesota work.