Iowa’s medical marijuana law is barely a year old and some legislators are already looking to change it.
Under a proposed piece of legislation, certain Iowa businesses would be allowed to produce and distribute medical marijuana.
Senate Democrats said they are doing this to expand the availability of the drug for Iowans who need it. They announced Monday that they will introduce the legislation this session.
This comes after a day when two Senate committees heard from a number of residents at the Statehouse who described their difficulties in trying to obtain medical marijuana in order to treat personal or family illnesses.
“Passing a medical cannabis bill or rescheduling it won’t fix everything but it might just save some of those heroes,” Jon Custis said Monday at the Statehouse. Custis has been diagnosed with PTSD.
Last year, Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill into law that allows for the possession and use of cannabis oil to treat chronic epilepsy.
But the law does not provide any way for residents to make or distribute the oil in Iowa. It also prohibits other forms of medical marijuana, which is a huge problem for Iowans who suffer from other illnesses.
“Iowans are talking, and I hope you’re listening. We need this option now, not years from now. Patients are suffering every day that could be saved or at the very least have their pain and symptoms eased,” Brandon Brase said Monday. Brase has Crohn’s disease.
The proposed legislation would create a program that monitors the production and distribution or medical marijuana in Iowa.
Democrats said it is similar to legislation in other states.
During his weekly press conference on Monday, Branstad said he doesn’t know if any additional medical marijuana legislation will pass this session. He did say that he is open to working with the state of Illinois to allow Iowans to travel there to access the drug.
Illinois recently passed legislation for a pilot-program that allows companies to manufacture and distribute medical marijuana in the state.
Before anything is done, Branstad wants to discuss the issue further with Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.