Governor pleased with legislature’s medical marijuana compromise

DES MOINES — Governor Terry Branstad says it is “likely” he will approve a bill that expands Iowa’s medical marijuana law.

“This was just worked out in the closing hours of the session, so we’re going to carefully review it, but I think this is certainly a subject that has a lot of interest and support,” Branstad says. “…I’m pleased that the legislature was able to reach a consensus on this difficult and contentious issue.” Iowa’s current law which decriminalized possession of cannabis oil for treatment of chronic epilepsy expires June 30th. The bill that passed the legislature early Saturday morning would sanction operations to grow marijuana, produce cannabis oil and dispense it in Iowa.

Iowa doctors could prescribe cannabis oil for treatment of a wider range of 15 chronic and debilitating conditions if Branstad signs the bill into law. “I have a responsibility to diligent review and consider all aspects and that’s what I do with every bill,” Branstad says. “But certainly it’s something that I’m pleased was approved and I’m very hopeful that we don’t find any major problems, so I think it’s likely that I will sign it.”

Supporters of the bill say it will take up to a year and a half to establish the state-sanctioned operations that will produce the cannabis oil for Iowa patients. Until then, Iowans who get an Iowa doctor’s recommendation for cannabis oil will still have to get it from out-of-state. The medical marijuana bill was the final sticking point to be resolved before the 2017 legislative session concluded at 7:15 a.m. Saturday.

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