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.
The Iowa Senate Appropriations Committee introduced a bill to establish a comprehensive medical cannabis program in the state. The bill already received unanimous support by a subcommittee at a hearing last week, and may receive a full Senate vote as early as this week.
The bill would allow patients suffering from cancer, PTSD, intractable pain, and a host of other aliments access to this life-saving treatment option if their doctors certify them for the program. The bill would not allow patients to smoke cannabis, but patients could still vaporize or consume their medicine in other forms. You can read more about the bill here.
The Iowa legislative session is almost over for the year, so in order to pass this bill, your lawmakers need to hear from you. If you are an Iowa resident, please contact your legislators.
Recent polls conducted in Iowa and New Hampshire in preparation for the presidential primary elections there show that a majority of voters in both parties think states should be able to carry out their own marijuana laws without federal interference. Public Policy Polling reports that 71% of Iowa respondents and 73% of New Hampshire respondents want the federal government to stay out of marijuana policy.
This poll also shows that support for state freedom in determining marijuana policy is non-partisan and has taken hold among Republicans as well as Democrats and Independents. 64% of Iowa Republicans and 67% of New Hampshire Republicans are in favor of the next president respecting state marijuana laws.
For more information, please visit Marijuana Majority.
The program approved by the Senate would allow Iowans who suffer from a variety of debilitating conditions to use and safely access medical marijuana with their doctors’ recommendations. The bill also requires the state to register in-state businesses to produce and distribute medical marijuana to qualified patients. This is a huge step forward, but for Iowa patients to receive the protections they deserve, the bill must first survive the House and then the governor.
After securing approval from the Iowa Senate Ways and Means Committee, the Medical Cannabis Act is primed for a floor vote by the full Senate. This vote could happen any day now, so it’s important for Iowa residents to email your Senator TODAY and ask her or him to vote “yes” on the Medical Cannabis Act when it comes to the floor.
The Medical Cannabis Act, or S.F. 484, makes significant improvements to the ineffective CBD-only law that was enacted last year in an effort to bring relief to individuals suffering from intractable epilepsy. That law has failed to help even the small subset of potential medical cannabis patients that it was specifically intended to help, making passage of the Medical Cannabis Act necessary.
Should the Medical Cannabis Act become law, individuals suffering from cancer, PTSD, intractable epilepsy, MS, and other debilitating conditions will be able to legally use and obtain their medicine within Iowa’s borders — but it must pass the Senate first.
After some members expressed reservations, the Iowa Pharmacy Board decided on Wednesday to delay its decision on marijuana’s drug classification until January.
A board subcommittee initially recommended that the entire board consider reclassifying the substance from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug. The recommendation was based on marijuana’s use for medical purposes, bolstered by a new law in Iowa that made the use of CBD oil, which is derived from the marijuana plant, legal for the treatment of children with epilepsy.
An Iowa Pharmacy Board member and pharmacist from Monona, Edward Maier, read the subcommittee’s recommendation:
“While the board believes that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, in 2014 the Iowa General Assembly passed the Medical Cannabinoid Act. The act permits the use of cannanbidiol for patients suffering from intractable epilepsy. The passage of this act is an affirmative recognition by the Iowa General Assembly that there is a medical use for marijuana. Continued placement for marijuana in Schedule I is not consistent with that act,” Maier said, reading directly from the recommendation.
Maier also emphasized that even if the Iowa Pharmacy Board decided to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II substance, the decision would not necessarily mean the de facto implementation of a medical marijuana law in Iowa. The move would also necessitate legislative and regulatory action.
In the end, however, the entire board voted unanimously to delay the decision until they are scheduled to meet again the first week of January.