Public Health officials say the timeline legislators set for granting state licenses to businesses that will grow marijuana to manufacture and sell cannabis oil in the state MAY be too “aggressive.”
The governor hasn’t appointed the nine-member advisory group that’s to be involved in the licensing process. The state agency given the task to write the rules for carrying out the new law had its budget cut by more than 13 percent. Iowa Department of Public Health director Gerd Clabaugh said it makes selecting and licensing one or even two medical cannabis manufacturers by December 1, 2017 a challenge.
“The law provides for some specific dates and under the best of circumstances they would be challenging,” Clabaugh told Radio Iowa. “…Without the resources, that’ll also be a challenge for us as well, but we’re making every effort to proceed with that.”
Members of the State Board of Health like Vicki Lewis of Marshalltown raised concerns during Thursday’s board meeting. Lewis said legislators should have set aside money for the department to implement the new law.
“This is obviously a great deal of work,” she said. “…I just don’t understand all the politics…but if these are the expectations, you need funding to accomplish these goals.”
The new law calls for the Iowa Department of Public Health to select and license up to two cannabis oil manufacturers by December 1. Up to five state licenses may be granted for dispensaries in Iowa that will sell cannabis oil, but April 1, 2018 is the deadline for those decisions. In addition, the law directs the Department of Public Health to develop a registry that can be checked at any time to verify a person trying to buy cannabis oil has a registration card from the state. The registry must also track the date and quantity of cannabis oil sold. That’s to ensure people aren’t going from site to site to get more cannabis oil than they are allowed to buy.