Senate subcommittee endorses expansion of Iowa’s medical marijuana law

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February 19th, 2019 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — A panel of three state senators has endorsed the idea of giving Iowans access to cannabis products for treatment of any medical condition — if a doctor, physician’s assistant or registered nurse says it would be beneficial.  Senator Brad Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale, says “To me, this is what fixes the problem that we have. Not perfect, but it helps out a lot of suffering Iowans.” Zaun says current state law is too restrictive since it limits medical marijuana treatment to a limited list of conditions and requires patients to get the go-ahead from a doctor. Lucas Nelson is the general manager of MedPharm Iowa which operates two of the five dispensaries in the state. He says 13-hundred Iowans have obtained the state-issued cards that let them buy cannabis pills, oils and creams — compared to the 44-thousand people who’re enrolled in Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program. “I think there are more Iowans out there who would benefit and I think this bill would absolutely help them do that,” Nelson says.

Amy Campbell, a lobbyist for addiction treatment programs, raised concerns cannabis products might fall into the wrong hands if this bill becomes law. “We’re concerned about the home delivery and how we would ensure the safety of that home delivery,” Campbell says.

The bill specifically says Iowans could use medical marijuana if they’re a patient in a hospice facility and as treatment for post traumatic stress disorder. The top Republican in the HOUSE has expressed reservations about adjustments to the state’s medical marijuana law, so these expansion plans being discussed in the SENATE face an uncertain future.