At the close of business Friday, Republican Governor Kim Reynolds’ staff announced the governor had vetoed a bill that would have expanded Iowa’s medical marijuana program.
The bill would have let more potent cannabis pills, oils and creams be produced and sold in Iowa. Forty of the 50 members of the Iowa Senate voted for the bill and it passed the House by an even larger, 96-to-3 margin, but some House Republicans began to have reservations after their votes when members of a state advisory board raised concerns.
Reynolds said hadn’t found an “evidence-based justification” for letting patients buy cannabis products with a higher amount of the chemical known as THC. The state drug czar said there’s “limited scientific consensus” about the medicinal benefits of cannabis and the governor made a prudent decision.
Republican Senators Brad Zaun, Jack Whitver — the Senate Majority Leader — and Senate President Charles Schneider issued statements, saying they were disappointed in the veto and they vowed to work on expanding the program again next year. Democrats who worked on the bill said the veto was “distressing news” for Iowans seeking more relief from a plant-based product rather than opioids.