Lawmaker: Medical Marijuana Bill Unlikely to Move This Session

By Alison Sullivan, Reporter



By Aaron Hepker

DES MOINES, Iowa - Two families joined Democratic lawmakers to push for legislation that would allow doctors to prescribe medicinal marijuana and help patients like their children find a treatment that provides relief.

Sally Gaer, joined by her husband West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gaer, said their 24-year-old daughter, Margaret, would benefit from a liquid form of cannabis to treat her epilepsy. Gaer said her daughter suffers from multiple seizures a week despite the handful of medicine she takes including a drug imported from France.

The proposed legislation would establish regulations allowing doctors to prescribe the use of medical cannabis for treating conditions such as epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS among other conditions.

However, Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, declared the bill dead on arrival after introducing it Tuesday morning because he said it lacks bipartisan support.

“I’m very disappointed in everybody in this building who is afraid they may not be re-elected for doing what’s right for the citizens who are fragile and medically ill in Iowa,” Gaer said.

Bolkcom, a co-sponsor and long-time advocate for medicinal marijuana, said he was unable to garner enough Republican support for the bill this session but will raise the issue again next legislative session.

"It's a significant disappointment that we don't have that (support) this morning," he said.

However, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock, said Republicans aren’t responsible for blocking the legislation.

“We’re very open to those discussions,” Dix said. “It’s a new enough subject that a lot of legislators need to hear more about what needs to happen to address those needs in the future.”

Maria LaFrance of Des Moines said the legislation would help her son, Quincy, who also suffers from epilepsy and patients in states that allow medical marijuana have reported relief from taking an oil form of cannabis.

Twenty states have regulations permitting doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis and Graer said she knows of friends who have left Iowa for states like Colorado to be able to obtain the liquid cannabis for their children.

Bolkcom said Senate File 2215 is modeled after New Mexico laws and said the bill includes several checks a patient must undergo before they could obtain medicinal cannabis.

Conversation Guidelines

Be Kind

Don't use abusive, offensive, threatening, racist, vulgar or sexually-oriented language.
Don't attack someone personally. Keep it civil and be responsible.

Share Knowledge

Be truthful. Share what you know and what you are passionate about.
What more do you want to learn? Keep it simple.

Stay focused

Promote lively and healthy debate. Stay on topic. Ask questions and give feedback on the story's topic.

Report Trouble

Help us maintain a quality comment section by reporting comments that are offensive. If you see a comment that is offensive, or you feel violates our guidelines, simply click on the "x" to the far right of the comment to report it.

read the full guidelines here »

Commenting will be disabled on stories dealing with the following subject matter: Crime, sexual abuse, property fires, automobile accidents, Amber Alerts, Operation Quickfinds and suicides.

facebook twitter rss mobile google plus
email alerts you tube hooplanow pinterest instagram

What's On KCRG