Would-be legal medical cannabis users in Iowa say the state’s CBD-only medical cannabis program isn’t meeting their needs.
It isn’t necessarily surprising to hear, considering the program never allowed Iowans to grow cannabis to make the oil, nor does it allow them to even purchase oil in Iowa. Instead, they have to get permission from the state to travel outside of Iowa, purchase the medicine, then illegally transfer it across state lines back home, 32 ounces at a time.
The bill was supported by parents and families desperate for access to medical cannabis and pushed by politicians looking to say they’ve already approved medical cannabis in order to stifle any future efforts to further increase access to the plant.
Under the proposal, patients and caregivers would have to have the recommendation of a neurologist as well as a state-issued ID card before they could access the non-psychoactive oils and edibles. Patients will have to purchase it out-of-state and then transport it back themselves. Even then, patients would only be allowed to keep a 32-ounce limit – about six month’s worth of medicine. So, in other words, if you want to have access to an affordable medicine you should be able to grow at home, you’ll have to spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars every six months to fly to someone else’s home state. And that’s the cost before you buy the meds.
No wonder people are upset – not that anyone couldn’t have seen this coming. Steve Gaer, mayor of West Des Moines, and his wife Sally Gaer are a great example. Back in May, Steve Gaer was “choked up” after the bill passed. His daughter, Margaret, suffers from severe seizures and, as he said after the bill passed: “you want the best for your kids, and when you’ve tried everything and you think this may be the best, the only solution left, you know. It’s pretty humbling to think that maybe you’ve found something that might help your children.”
And now Sally Gaer is among the most vocal that the program isn’t working. Her biggest complaint? That the law that was passed didn’t give her a legal way to grow or purchase the medicine she needs.
“What are we all going to do, get in a wagon train and go over the mountains?” Sally Gaer told the Press-Citizen. Yes, Sally, that’s exactly what your elected officials expect you to do since that’s the bill you and your husband supported.
Other blogs have talked about how CBD-only laws may do more harm than good, and Iowa might be a prime example. Not only does it limit access to a very small population, but it doesn’t actually legalize anything. To come back again this session and demand fixes will likely fuel the argument that the CBD bill was a foot in the door for outright legalization by anti-pot legislators who begrudgingly voted for the highly limited CBD-only bill the first time so they didn’t look unsympathetic to suffering children.
For their part, the state isn’t helping matters. Iowa Department of Public Health officials say they’ll have the registration cards ready to go by the end of the year, despite the program going into effect July 1.