As of last November, 28 states across the country have elected to legalize medical marijuana. The plant has been consistently gaining approval due to its ability to help so many people in a healthier, safer and more effective way than most medication on the market. Marijuana reform has gained a lot of traction as a result and some of that traction is being experienced right now in Iowa. While the state has already legalized medical marijuana, its regulations are so strict that not many people who need it have been able to get access to it. There have been no growers or distributors in Iowa, so patients have had to run the risk of getting it from other states.
Expansion of Manufacturers and Dispensaries
The program however, has now been expanded and now 2 manufacturers and 5 dispensaries will be able to set up business in the state, allowing Iowa residents to order their medication locally. CBD oil is the only form of medical marijuana available for public use and the maximum THC level allowable in the oil is 3 percent. This means that the kind of marijuana available has no chance of making a person get high as the compound THC, which causes the psychoactive effects, is in too low a dose to have that kind of impact.
Establishment of a Medical Advisory Board
Another aspect of the bill is a medical advisory board that has been created who will act as liaison between government and patient. The board will be in charge of researching the plant and deciding what conditions marijuana may benefit. They will be the ones talking to the public about marijuana laws and regulations and overall working to get the best system in place for Iowa. The board, as well as manufacturers and dispensaries, could take up to a couple of years to set up. It takes time to set up the infrastructure of the industry, but the bill is a move in the right direction for those suffering with debilitating disorders.
Adding More Qualifying Conditions
The bill has also expanded the list of conditions that will qualify for medical marijuana. Right now, those suffering with epilepsy and seizures can have access to CBD oil. This will continue, but now the list will be reviewed and expanded to include 14 more conditions mentioned in the bill including multiple sclerosis.
“Sick Iowans Out There Who Need Relief”
The bill was introduced by Republican Representative Jared Klein who has been the point person in the House negotiations on the measure. He stated that “there are sick Iowans out there who need relief” to reporters during a press conference. “I ran the original bill on the floor that got this to the kids that have intractable epilepsy. I have a constituent that suffers from that and I’ve heard the positive results. That just reassured me of taking the next step.”
Lawmakers in Iowa met Friday and early Saturday to discuss and approve the bill. Now it is up to Gov. Terry Branstad to sign the bill into law. He has not said one way or the other whether he will be doing this, but with so many people depending on medical relief through marijuana, the hope is that he will and lawmakers can move forward on putting the law into action.