Some sick and ill Iowa residents will now have access to a very limited form of medical marijuana after Gov. Terry Branstad signed a CBD-only medical cannabis bill into law last Friday.
But to access that medicine, patients are going to have to navigate some major legal gray areas and travel at least two states away.
The law, which starts in July, will allow sick Iowans with a doctor’s recommendation to access CBD oil out-of-state and then bring it back to Iowa for treatment. Patients would be able to possess up to 32 ounces of oil at a time. The law doesn’t allow Iowans to possess raw cannabis or even grow their own supply of CBD-rich plants.
Interestingly, the bill was writing with nearby Colorado in mind, however CBD medicine isn’t highly available on the recreational market currently and Colorado medical marijuana laws do not allow for reciprocity with patients from other states.
“This bill received tremendous support and truly shows the power of people talking to their legislators and to their governor about important issues to them, to their families and to their children,” he told reporters Friday.
Paul Armentano, NORML deputy director, said the bill was a symbolic gesture more than anything else. While the bill will certainly help out those who do need it, it leaves other patients who would be helped by the many other therapeutic properties of cannabis. And don’t look for Iowa to become even more lenient in the future. Branstad has made it clear that he won’t be loosening pot laws again. He won’t even consider it, he said before signing the bill.
The CBD-only cannabis bills have grown in popularity in the last year, with seven other states passing similar legislation. Of them, only three will actually allow for CBD-rich plant production in their states. The rest force needy patients to leave the state – and break several state and federal laws – to get their medicine.
But still, families who supported this bill out of desperation for their sick children cheered its passage. April Stumpf, mother of a child suffering from severe seizures, was overjoyed.
“It’s a very, very special moment and to share with so many fantastic families we’ve met a long the way in this process is very special and I hold them all dear to my heart.”
Stumpf says will now have to spend thousands of dollars every month in Colorado, then drive back across Nebraska or Kansas to get home. But both of those states aren’t going to give a damn about her medical marijuana card, and she faces prosecution in either one. She could fly home with it, but the two largest airports in Colorado have banned pot on the premises.
The new law goes into effect July 1.