Cedar Rapids Man Pushes for Cannabis Bill

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) – A bill moving through Iowa house committees would allow cannabis oil to be developed and distributed in the state.

Right now, an individual can have a legal prescription, but has to go beyond Iowa borders to obtain the oils. Some say they desperately need the medicine, and the difficulty of getting it is crippling their daily life.

Patrick Loeffler said cannabis oil dramatically changed his outlook on his condition. Almost a year ago, he got into a serious accident due to his intractable epilepsy.

“I started driving home, took a turn down 1st street west, I actually crashed into the Cedar Rapids Police Department building. I’m lucky to be here telling my story,” Loeffler said.

He had a major seizure from a pharmacy error. He was given 250 ml pills in a 500 ml bottle. Loeffler takes about a half dozen pills a day. He said the side effects are crippling.

“I stand here right now shaking inside. I have six to seven different side effect, actually I have more than that. I’m looking for quality of life back,” he said.

That’s why he and his wife took a trip to Colorado to try cannabis oil. He said the effects were life changing. With his success, he took his story to lawmakers and lobbied for the cannabis oil bill.

“Had incredible success, had no symptoms or side effects while we were out there, it actually gave me a glimmer of hope,” Loeffler said. “I’m also speaking for these children who are on these same kinds of medication, who cannot speak. They’re incapacitated, they can’t speak.”

Senator Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City) has heard these stories many times before.

“Over the course of the last few years we’ve met hundreds and hundreds of Iowans that suffer from debilitating conditions, and have taken some of the most powerful narcotic drugs and medicines that are available from modern medicine and they still continue to have their medical conditions not addressed,” Bolkcom said.

He said it’s his goal to create a program that would be modeled after effective programs in other states. 23 states in the country have comprehensive programs to address the 150 million Americans that use cannabis as medicine.

Bolkcom said it will be an uphill battle with some of the republicans opposing to protect doctors who may fear losing their license.

Loeffler said he’s not giving up the fight.

“It’s time for Iowa to lead the way,” he said. “We’re not going to stop.”