Cannabis law makes use impossible
September 11, 2014
Filed under Opinion
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After much lobbying and debate in the Statehouse last spring, a special law allowing parents of children with severe epilepsy to purchase cannabis oil extract for medical use signed into law by the governor.
Effective July 1, Iowa parents who get a recommendation from an Iowa neurologist will be able to purchase and possess cannabis oil extract without breaking Iowa law.
Several Iowa families banded together to lobby for this law, which from the outset seemed like a longshot. Several of these children, one of which happens to be the daughter of the mayor of West Des Moines, suffer from severe seizures that require them to be monitored constantly. After exhausting all the FDA-approved medical options, they’ve learned that cannabis oil extract reduces these seizures and enable these families to have a little normalcy to their lives.
One former Iowa family from Tama saw their child’s seizures go from several per day to a one or two in a month under cannabis oil treatment.
Here’s the problem — even though we have this law in effect, the only way to use it is to break several state and federal laws.
While Branstad signed this bill into law, he won’t allow anybody in Iowa to produce the extract. After six months of ‘exhausting every other option,’ an Iowa family may utilize this law by getting a recommendation from an Iowan neurologist who has to fill out a form.
As of early September, none of these Iowa families have this form because it doesn’t exist yet!
When this form does exist, these families then have to pay to travel to another state where they have to hope that a vendor will observe the Iowa law.
Then, they have to purchase the extract out-of-pocket and travel with it back to Iowa. If they fly, they’ll be breaking federal drug trafficking laws. If they drive, they’ll break Colorado law for bringing it out of state, Nebraska law for bringing it into the state, and then Iowa law again for bringing it into the state. Once in Iowa, they are then in the clear until their child turns 18, for the extract is illegal for adults to consume in Iowa. Assuming these families can afford to do all of this, it is quite an ordeal to get your child’s medicine.
This new law does put Iowans in a place where caring for their loved ones and observing the law are conflicting. The legal practice of this law is impossible.
This is an example of a bad law in a long, long line of stupid, ineffectively enforced, ignorant laws. The modern prohibition on marijuana is outdated, ineffective, and costly.
Despite medical and scientific evidence to the contrary, the DEA still lists marijuana as a substance with “no currently accepted medical use.” This reefer-madness has got to end.
While I am 100 percent for medical marijuana for children, I’ve seen studies that show recreational use is harmful for high school students.
So let’s do what we should have done 50 years ago: legalize recreational use for adults over 21. If the federal government won’t do it, let’s follow Colorado’s example.
Nine months after legalizing marijuana, Colorado has seen youth cannabis use decrease, crime rates have dropped and they’re sitting on a huge pile of new tax revenue.
In the meantime, it is critical we fix the current Iowa law for the sake of our affected families.
As it currently stands, these families are months away from treatment and will still be breaking the law. We need to license cannabis oil producers in Iowa and we need to make this process more available to all families in need of it.
I hope Gov. Branstad can sleep at night (maybe after a drink or two) knowing that he signed a bill into law that demands Iowa families to break state and federal law to give their children the care they deserve.
Medical marijuana is necessary but let’s be real: it needs to be recreational. I’d rather Iowa not follow California’s stance on “medical” marijuana, and not insult the medical profession by faking glaucoma to get a prescription.
Rather, let’s have Iowa continue to be a leader and embrace recreational marijuana. The risks of doing nothing are just too high.