Just before the Iowa Legislature’s session adjourned on Saturday, the Senate passed a bill to expand Iowa’s nascent medical marijuana program. It now heads to Gov. Kim Reynold’s desk.
The bill — HF 732 — would remove the three percent cap of THC in medical marijuana products and instead institute a per-person limit of 25 grams every 90 days. It would also expand the patient pool by allowing additional health professionals such as nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to recommend medical marijuana. Finally, it would relax a restrictive definition of which pain patients can qualify.
These changes would significantly improve Iowa’s medical marijuana program, so please contact Gov. Reynolds today. After you have contacted her, please spread the word by forwarding this email to friends and family or by sharing the action link on social media.
Two bills to expand Iowa's low-THC medical marijuana program are working their way through the Iowa Legislature and have passed some important hurdles. On Wednesday, committees voted in favor of bills (SF 501 and HSB 244) that would make numerous positive changes to Iowa's medical marijuana program. The much-welcomed reforms include:
- Removing the three percent THC cap on medical marijuana products;
- Allowing more health professions to recommend medical marijuana; and
- Adding PTSD as a qualifying condition and expanding the definition of untreatable pain so more patients can qualify for medical marijuana.
There is a chance these bills could pass, but not without your support. According to a poll sponsored by the Des Moines Register, 78% of Iowa adults want the state to expand its medical marijuana program. Please ask your lawmakers today to support these changes to the medical marijuana program in Iowa. Together, we can help Iowa patients access the medicine they deserve.
On Saturday, December 1, Iowa’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened to the public. MedPharm opened in Windsor and will sell low-THC oil to qualifying patients. Unfortunately, MedPharm may only sell medical marijuana oil, and the oil may not contain more than three percent THC.
While this reform is an important victory for some patients, most seriously ill Iowans will be left behind. Many patients find greater amounts of THC are crucial to the relief they need from their medical conditions, and this severely limited program does not go far enough.
Iowa patients deserve better. Please email your lawmakers and ask them to support a comprehensive medical marijuana program.
Additionally, the board voted to recommend that the state add autism to the list of qualifying conditions, but rejected expanding the program to add ADHD, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and ganglioglioma.
Unfortunately, Iowa’s low-THC approach leaves behind thousands of patients who could benefit from medical marijuana.
Check out our full summary of Iowa’ low-THC program here. Five dispensaries across the state will be open to registered patients on December 1. You can also find a wealth of information on medical marijuana here.
The Iowa general election is fast approaching. The deadline to register online is October 27. You can also register and vote on Election Day!
Here’s a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana reform: Fred Hubbell (D) is supportive of expanding medical marijuana, while Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said she “would support the process that’s already in place” that allows a board to make certain expansions to the existing low-THC program. You can find more information on Iowa’s current marijuana policies here.
For more information on voting, including registration and where you can cast your ballot, check out the state’s website.
Please forward this to your friends and family in Iowa, and be sure to vote!
The Iowa Legislature is back in session, and there is renewed hope for common-sense marijuana policy reform. Last week, a Senate subcommittee recommended passage of SF 432, a bill that would reduce the penalties for marijuana possession. The bill would change the penalty for first offense possession of marijuana under five grams from a serious misdemeanor to a simple misdemeanor.
The bill, though not perfect, would be a step in the right direction for Iowa. You see, the Iowa Legislative Services Agency studied the bill and reported that this reform would result in “considerable fewer jail admissions” and “savings to local governments.”
The fiscal note also detailed how marijuana prohibition disproportionately affects the African American community. In FY 2016, 18% of the persons convicted for first-offense marijuana possession were African American, yet African Americans only make up 3.5% of the Iowa population and have nearly equal marijuana usage rates as white Iowans.
If you are an Iowa resident, please ask your lawmakers to reduce the penalties for marijuana possession.
Last week, the Iowa Legislature approved HF 524, extending and expanding the state's existing cannabidiol program. Now, all the bill needs is a signature from the governor to become law.
Although the Senate approved a full medical marijuana bill that allowed as much THC as patients might need, the House has lagged behind. HF 524 includes a 3% cap on THC. We are disappointed at the limits of the final bill, but it is still an important step forward.
If passed, patients suffering from illnesses such as Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or terminal illness would be able to enroll in a program with their doctor's authorization. Patients must be permanent residents of Iowa and would apply for their ID cards through the Department of Transportation. Unlike Iowa’s existing CBD program, manufacturers would be licensed to produce the oil, and dispensaries would be established where patients could make actual purchases, thus allowing in-state access to this life-changing medication.
If you are an Iowa resident, please ask Gov. Terry Branstad to sign the measure into law without delay.