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Column

Further expansion of cannabidiol in Iowa

Medical cannabis expansion: The House passed a bill this week that would make some changes in the current law concerning cannabis use for medical conditions in Iowa. The rules for use of medical cannabis have been evolving since 2014, when the use of cannabidiol was allowed for patients with severe epilepsy. 

In 2017, legislation passed that enabled better access and authorized manufacturers and dispensaries to operate in the state, as well as extended the list of conditions when medical cannabis could be prescribed.

This week, the House passed HF 732 which would further expand medical cannabis use. It now heads to the Senate. The proposed legislation would allow physician assistants and registered nurse practitioners to authorize eligibility for the program; removes the current 3 percent THC limit and replaces it with a 25 gram limit more than 90 day maximum; removes prohibition on certain felons applying for the medical cannabidiol registration card; allows dispensaries to employ licensed pharmacists and technicians; and replaces the words “untreatable pain” with “severe or chronic pain” in the law.

I was able to advance an amendment to the bill that would add “terminal illness” to the waiver’s list of debilitating medical conditions. In addition the amendment would allow a person suffering with severe pain, ALS, or cancer to receive more than 25 grams of THC over the 90-day period. Overall, the bill was a bipartisan compromise that sought to find reasonable solutions to help those suffering.

YMCA: I had the pleasure of meeting with the Newton YMCA’s Frank Buckley and Lucas Hughes along with other YMCA representatives across the state when they came to the Capitol this week. 

I applaud Frank and his team for the tremendous job they do at our local Newton YMCA.  The Y is an outstanding example of a Jasper County nonprofit that’s committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Serving Newton and Jasper County since 1874, it is a community center with programming including youth sports, adult recreational leagues, dance and gymnastics classes, swimming lessons, nutritional education, group fitness opportunities, full-time child care, after-school programs for boys and girls, volunteer opportunities, employment opportunities, community outreach and much more. The legislature can help Iowa YMCAs by the continuation of the RIIF (Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) program. This appropriation funds facility infrastructure improvements at YMCA locations across the state.

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