It took until the early hours of Saturday morning, but the state House of Representatives of Iowa was able to pass a bill that would make it legal to grow medical marijuana in Iowa as well as to allow the sale of medical cannabis in the form of extracted oils.
The bill, which is likely to be signed into law by Governor Terry Branstad in the coming days, fixes an enormous hole in Iowa’s previously limited medical marijuana laws. Until this bill’s passage, it was legal to possess cannabis oils in the state of Iowa but it was illegal to produce, manufacture, or sell any cannabis products.
One of the bills most up-front advocates, Rep. Jarad Klein-R, stated, “There are sick Iowans out there that need relief, bottom line,” while explaining his support for the bill.
The bill’s passage is clearly a win for medical marijuana patients in Iowa. For the first time since the beginning of the state’s minuscule medical marijuana program, patients will be able to legally purchase marijuana products. It also expands the list of eligible conditions to add: Parkinson’s disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, as well as most terminal illnesses. While a step in the right direction, the bill still keeps Iowa’s medical marijuana program far behind that of other legal states in the US. The Iowa Dept. of Public Health will only be able to approve up to two manufacturers and up to five I distributors to sell the newly approved cannabis oil extracts. It is unclear however when distribution will begin. The oils themselves will be allowed to have a maximum THC content of 3 percent.
The bill also expands the list of eligible conditions to add: Parkinson’s disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, as well as most terminal illnesses.
In order to help continue pushing Iowa’s medical marijuana program forward, the bill would also create a “Medical Cannabidiol Advisory Board” which will be put in place to issue recommendation on new conditions that need to be added to the program as well as recommendations on raising the THC level cap.
The bill does not make Iowa’s medical marijuana program one of the best in the nation, but it does expand the program to better suit patients needs.