On Monday, February 20th, Iowa lawmakers proposed a new bill that would allow cannabis plants to be grown within the state and then turned into medical oil to treat epilepsy or other degenerative conditions. The House Study Bill 132, filed by Public Safety Committee Chair Rep. Clel Baudler, representing Greenfield in the House of Representatives would greatly expand Iowa’s current medical marijuana program.
At the moment, Iowa residents who suffer from degenerative conditions are allowed to use cannabis oil as a form of treatment. However, there is a separate regulation in effect that forbids medical businesses to either distribute or manufacture cannabis oil within the state’s borders. Furthermore, it is also illegal to transport such products across the state’s lines. Hence, patients in need of the treatment are forced to obtain it illegally.
The law that prohibits cannabis distribution and manufacturing passed in 2014 and sunsets in July 2017 with nothing to replace it with. Lawmakers on both sides want to see something taking effect this summer, whether a new medical marijuana program or an extension of the current law.
Giving Iowa the opportunity of producing its own medical marijuana products, residents wouldn’t have to violate federal laws to get their hands on the treatment they need, lawmakers in favor of the new bill say. Multiple medical marijuana advocates, as well as families of patients who have seen the effects of cannabis oil for themselves, argue there is a wide spectrum of debilitating diseases that can be managed with such treatment that stretch far beyond intractable epilepsy alone.
Baudler, who spearheaded the move in favor of expanding Iowa’s medical marijuana program strongly believes doctors and scientists should have the final say whether the bill is adequate, rather than let the politicians argue about its effects.
“There’s not a doctor or a scientist in either chamber, so what the hell are we doing in some of the bills dictating what diseases or conditions get this?”, said Rep. Clel Baudler.
At the moment, Baudler relies on some level of support from House Republicans but is unsure whether all agree with his views. Nevertheless, a past survey showed that support among lawmakers for the medical marijuana program rose from 58 percent in 2013 to 80 percent in 2017.
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