The Iowa House and Senate fought through the night - I finally fell asleep at about 4am and woke up just two hours later from my friends messaging me that the debate was about to start. By the time I was able to think coherently - the bill had already gone from the House to the Senate and I had no idea what I was looking at.
What we ended up with is not what everyone has been fighting for - even our key friends in the legislature agree to that - but I feel that we are heading the right direction. We will now have growth and distribution of cannabis in Iowa with two manufacturers, five dispensaries and it was expanded from "intractable epilepsy only" to 15 conditions. Many conditions were taken from the bill which was highly disappointing as my best friend from grade-school suffers from EDS and her condition was taken from the bill's list. In addition, PTSD and Ulcerative Colitis were removed which hurts my heart for my friends who I have stood by at the Capitol and who have fought for this just as hard as anyone else. I just hope that the "untreatable pain" condition can be the umbrella that covers those whose specific diagnoses were left behind until the Medical Advisory Board can add those conditions back in.
The GOOD thing is that now there is a Medical Advisory Board involved. This is something that we have fought for as advocates to get. This simply means that there will be a board of seven physicians and one law enforcement person who will be able to add conditions, decide the method of administration and who will have the ability to suggest THC % increases to the legislators.
For me personally, I am pleased that we got this much at all. With everything that has happened the last couple of years I was terrified that we'd just get an expansion of the bill but still not be able to have access. Now we will have access here, we may get reciprocity with bordering states to get medicine while we wait and now Doctors with knowledge in cannabis will be guiding the way for adding conditions and changing the cap on the THC percentage for those who need more THC.
We've fought long and hard for this and although it isn't everything that we wanted - it is a step in the right direction and a compromise in the Legislature that we should be pleased even happened considering the political climate in Iowa right now. IOWA - the 30th state to allow the growth of Cannabis. It'd say that's pretty cool.
If you'd like to read the bill's text - I highly encourage you to do so. Be sure to click on the Klein Amendment on the drop-down menu to see it all. https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=87&ba=HF524