No one in Iowa believes our greatly limited medical cannabis law will work. That hardly is an overstatement. It’s the overwhelming conclusion amongst patients, supporters and doctor throughout our state who can see the state’s heavy-handed policies threaten to suffocate the program before a single Iowan is helped.The law’s drawbacks have been well-documented over the previous year. To name a few, it doesn’t cover adequate conditions, doesn’t allow sufficient levels of the medically helpful chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, and doesn’t permit adequate circulation places, with the closest dispensaries to Cedar Rapids and Iowa City being in Waterloo and Davenport.
Most annoying is the fact there is considerable political support in the Iowa Legislature to fix those problems, but a little group of partisan elites have squelched reform efforts. A last-minute push to broaden the program as part of a bill dealing with the opioid epidemic failed today in Des Moines. The procedure appeared to have bulk support in the Republican-controlled Iowa Senate, but was withdrawn following reports Iowa Home leaders would snub the entire expense if it included cannabis language.Then-Gov. Terry Branstad signed the medical cannabis law a year ago this month.
Ever since, only about 300 patients and 100 caretakers have actually been authorized for registration cards through the Iowa Department of Public Health. Another 326 were approved under an even weaker 2014 law. Those disappointingly low figures aren’t an item of bureaucrats frivolously denying applications– denials total just about two dozen under both laws. Rather, few Iowans are applying because they have little hope the exceptionally narrow program will use any significant relief.
As it stands, .02 percent of Iowans will be permitted to access government-approved medical cannabis products when they appear later on this year. That leaves Iowa on the bottom called among all states, according to a tally by the Cannabis Policy Job. To put it in perspective, the part of the population in surrounding Minnesota with the government’s authorization to use cannabis as medicine is more than six times as high as Iowa’s. Even some politically conservative states such as Montana and Arizona have actually approved medical cards to more than 1 percent of their populations.
There is little doubt the medical cannabis movement ultimately will infect every state, it’s only a question of how long it will take. The prohibitionists recognize that, however have actually decided to postpone the inevitable.Politicians may not mind waiting another year or more, however countless Iowans whose lives might be vastly enhanced by medical cannabis do not have that luxury.