While the state of Iowa has already had a medical cannabis program, it was considered too strict by many critics.
The state’s Governor Terry Branstad just signed a bill on Friday that will allow medical cannabis to be grown and sold in Iowa and for it to be treated for more ailments.
“I recognize medical research continues to investigate the efficacy of medical cannabidiol,” Branstad said in a statement. “We sympathize with the families that have a loved one that might benefit from treatments that include the use of this product, and for those reasons, I have signed (the legislation) into law.”
Prior to the new law being signed, medical cannabis was only a covered treatment for epileptic seizures. In the new program, cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS or HIV, Crohn’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, as well as others, can now be treated with medical cannabis.
The new law now also allows the establishment of up to two state-licensed medical cannabis manufacturers in Iowa and allows individuals to obtain medical marijuana from neighboring states that have similar programs.
Sally Gaer of West Des Moines, the co-founder of a medical cannabis advocacy group commented, “I’m thrilled, really. I’m thrilled. We’re hugely ahead of where we were in 2014 (with the original program). Now, we can have growth and production and testing and distribution in the state. So this is huge.”
“It’s a huge step. It’s not everything we wanted, but 2014 wasn’t everything we wanted, either. It’s a huge step.”
As part of the bill, a medical cannabidol board is established that can make recommendations to state lawmakers about expanding or changing the program.
According to Sally Gaer, she is hopeful that the board will help loosen the THC restriction that there is now.
“I think the THC cap is very prohibitive,” Gaer said. “People with cancer and chronic pain, anti-inflammatory (needs), colitis, Crohn’s, those people all need more than 3 percent THC. So that’s one of the major problems with the bill right there.”
“Hopefully, moving forward, we can get a program that can help more Iowans.”