Iowa Department of Public Health director Gerd Clabaugh says his agency is rushing to meet a December deadline for granting licenses for growing marijuana that will be turned into cannabis oil.
“We’ve been developing drafts of the rules around the legislative requirements, but the board will provide us an important point of feedback — and medical feedback — with regard to how the program will be set up and operate,” Clabaugh says.
A policeman from Mason City and a pharmacist from Spirit Lake are two of the eight members of the new advisory board. The rest are doctors who are specialists in pediatrics, psychiatry, family medicine and pain management as well as neurology and cancer treatment.
A new state law passed this spring sanctions marijuana growing operations for production of cannabis oil that will be dispensed to Iowans. Supporters acknowledged it may take up to two years to set up the distribution system. Clabaugh says he and his staff hope to meet with the advisory group as soon as possible.
“Now that the board has been appointed, we’ll be anxious to meet with them, get their feedback and really begin the process in earnest,” Clabaugh says.
Previous state law had decriminalized possession of cannabis oil purchased out-of-state for treatment of chronic epilepsy. The new law lets Iowa doctors prescribe cannabis oil for treatment of more than a dozen chronic and debilitating conditions. The administrative rules for regulating this new system will be reviewed and approved by the previously existing State Board of Health as well as a legislative committee before the rules take effect.
Through May 11th of this year, more than 300 Iowans had obtained cards from the state, for using cannabis oil as treatment for epilepsy. Since then, 93 other Iowans have applied for and received the cards under the new law, which allows cannabis oil as treatment for more conditions, including the side effects of cancer, like nausea or chronic pain.
Here are the members of the Medical Cannabidiol Board:
Pediatrician: Dr. Ken Cheyne, Clive
Psychiatrist: Dr. Jill Liesveld, Coralville
Law Enforcement: Mike McKelvey, Mason City
Family Medicine: Dr. Lonny Miller, Creston
Pharmacist: Dr. Stephen Richards, Spirit Lake
Oncologist: Dr. Robert Shreck, Des Moines
Pain Management: Dr. Jacqueline Stoken, Waukee
Neurologist: Dr. Wendy Zadeh, Ankeny