Back in November lawmakers promised that one of the most important topics they would focus on in the coming year was going to be rewriting the current CBD law in Iowa, which has a sunset date of July 2017 – meaning after that cannabis oil would become illegal again. So far, they are holding true to this promise as House Study Bill 132 was filed by the Public Safety Committee Chair Rep. Clel Baudler and has already been approved by the first panel and has moved on to the next step.
The law put in place by lawmakers in Iowa in 2014 allowed the use of CBD oil for patients with certain severe seizure conditions – but it required that they obtain the medicine from an out of state source where medical marijuana is legal. The new bill would actually provide patients access through an in-state cultivation and dispensing system that the state desperately needs.
“This is medicine,” said Rep. Jarad Klein, a Republican from Keota who led the three-person subcommittee. “This is about helping folks.”
House Study Bill 132 would create a licensed system of cultivation, processing and dispensing under the Iowa Department of Public Health. The Department of Health would also be in charge of processing patient ID cards and generally overseeing of the program. This would be a major step forward for the state, giving patients access to the medicine without putting them into a position where they are forced to break federal law to obtain it.
“It’s very important for us that people have safe and legal access,” said Sally Gaer of West Des Moines, co-founder of a medical cannabis advocacy group whose daughter has a rare form of epilepsy.
On top of creating an in-state market for cannabis oil, the law would also require the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine to issue recommendations on other conditions that may be able to benefit from medical cannabis. These recommendations will then be considered and likely added as additional qualifying conditions under future legislation – and that could open up access to thousands more patients over time, and that’s at least a start.
All in all this is definitely a bill that would benefit the state. It may not bring full medical marijuana access by any means, but it is still a huge improvement on the law passed only a few years ago. The fact that lawmakers have made this a priority at all is proof that they are taking this seriously, and they realize just how many people have already benefitted from CBD oil and they want to ensure that more people get that opportunity – with safe and legal access as well.
Hopefully this bill – or something extremely similar – finds its way to the governor’s desk in time for the law to be in place before the current one expires in July. The only reason that this one was passed so quickly by the first panel was because of a March 3rd deadline for bills that will be considered.