Candidates for Iowa House District 7 disagree about medical marijuana (AUDIO)

MASON CITY — The two candidates for the Iowa House District 7 seat squabbled over whether or not Iowa laws should be expanded when dealing with medical marijuana during last night’s legislative candidate program on AM-1300 KGLO. A group has been continuing their lobbying effort the last few years to support legalizing marijuana for broad medical use. An Iowa law which decriminalized possession of cannabis oil for treatment of chronic epilepsy will expire next July 1st. Dave Grussing, a Democrat from Armstrong challenging incumbent Republican Tedd Gassman of Scarville, says  the answer is not continuing to send people across state lines to obtain cannabis oil. He says he found out knocking door-to-door in Forest City that a pair of women had been told by Gassman to get the oil from another state and bring it back to Iowa. “I spent enough years as a police detective to understand that marijuana is still scheduled as a Schedule I drug under the DEA drug tables. It’s a felony to transport it across state lines, and I just think it is not the duty of a legislator to tell his constituents to violate federal law rather than fix the law that exists.” Gassman says he’s against establishing a cannabis distribution network in Iowa. He says marijuana doesn’t need to be grown in Iowa. “I’m totally against growing marijuana, whether it’s in a steel building surrounded by razor wire fence or anything else. The statistics are there, if you go back and look at Colorado, Washington, Oregon and so on, those places that have the highest incidents of illegal drug use are the ones that have recreational cannabis and medical cannabis. We don’t want that in Iowa.” Grussing says Iowans want the choice of being able to have medical marijuana as a treatment. He cited a February 2016 Des Moines Register poll that showed 78-percent Iowans supported allowing medical marijuana. “It’s effective for a number of diseases. I’m not a doctor, Representative Gassman is not a doctor, I don’t know of any doctors in the Iowa House of Representatives who have the authority I believe to stand in between a doctor and a patient  and that doctor prescribing what he feels will best treat that patient’s symptoms.” Gassman says he doesn’t want Iowa connected with marijuana in any fashion. He says, “I’m not going to give a 14-year-old another opportunity to smoke marijuana and burn up his brain. We can’t do that, we have to find a different way to do this. We can make a deal with Minnesota and bring the cannabis oil into Iowa and dispense it throughout the state…that is a workable solution so we don’t have to grow marijuana in the state of Iowa.” Gurssing says as long as marijuana is a Schedule I drug, Gassman’s solution won’t work. He says, “No state is going to agree to violate federal law to move that oil into this state. Once again, the bottom line comes down to the fact is that if you aren’t going to provide a method of producing and distributing marijuana oil when the law was first passed, what was your intent? And I think basically you’re either looking at hypocrisy or incompetence as the answer.“ Gassman says marijuana continues to be illegal and working with Minnesota is a sensible solution. The candidates made their comments during an appearance on AM-1300 KGLO last night. You can listen back to the program by clicking on the left side of the audio player below


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