On Monday, the Iowa State Senate passed an expanded medical marijuana proposal by a landslide. The vote was 45 "yes" to 5 "no". This expansion would allow making and dispensing cannabis products in Iowa legal, as well as for adults to legally possess and use cannabis under a doctor’s care to treat an variety of medical conditions. The proposal is entitled “The Compassionate Use of Cannabis Act,” and, if it passes through the rest of the State's Congress, would become a new law that would replace Iowa’s existing but limited cannabis oil statute.
This expansion could have great potential for cannabis policy reform overall, with Iowa being right in the middle of America's heartland.
According to a local news outlet in Cedar Rapids, Iowa called The Gazette, this proposal lays out an expanded approach to reclassify marijuana and open it as a limited medical alternative under tight regulation and supervision.
“Let’s do the right thing for the people out there who are suffering,” said Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale. The bill was supported by 25 Republicans 19 Democrats and one independent, while four Republicans and one Democrat opposed it.
Under provisions of Senate File (SF) 506, Iowa would license up to four manufacturers to “possess, cultivate, transport or supply medical cannabis” by July 2, 2018, so up to 12 licensed dispensaries could begin distribution to qualified adult Iowans by July 16, 2018. Interested makers and dispensers would pay a non-refundable $15,000 state fee.
About a year ago, a poll was released that found that 78% of Iowans supported medical marijuana reform. While most of the public polled seemed to more broadly support medical marijuana as opposed to recreational/adutl-use marijuana, they have steadily become more comfortable.. The poll from last year was up from 58 percent in 2013.
The proposal will now go to the Iowa State House of Representatives, where it's future is still uncertain. You can read the full text of The Compassionate Use of Cannabis Act here.