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Bob Vander PlaatsDES MOINES, Iowa – Conservative leader and president of The Family Leader, Bob Vander Plaats, spoke at the Iowa Statehouse Wednesday in support of legislative efforts to expand the state’s medical cannabis law.

“There’s absolutely no doubt about it: this is a pro-family issue,” he said. “It’s an issue about quality of life for Iowans, young and old, who are suffering needlessly.”

A bill introduced in the Iowa Senate last week would expand the Medical Cannabidoil Act of 2014 to allow patients of nine other conditions – in addition to epilepsy – to access medical cannabis oil. It would also legalize other forms of medical cannabis, besides oil, but stops short of legalizing smoking medical cannabis. The bill also allows for production and sale of medical cannabis in the state of Iowa (families currently must access these products from other states – often an illegal process) and creates a Medical Advisory Board to oversee the program.

Vander Plaats says The Family Leader will not take a position on the issue, and therefore, he won’t support any particular legislation or lobby lawmakers personally. Rather, he says his statement serves to urge Governor Terry Branstad, and lawmakers in both chambers, to act on addressing the accessibility issues Iowans face with medical cannabis.

“I am not here on behalf of The Family Leader,” he said. “My wife Darla and I are here on behalf of our son, Lucas.”

Vander Plaats’ son was born with severe developmental disabilities, and while Vander Plaats’ admitted medical cannabis would not particularly help with his son’s condition, he knows what it is like as a parent to see a child in agony and be helpless to remedy it.

“While cannabis oil is derived from marijuana, it cannot be abused and any arguments to the contrary simply ignore the wealth of scientific evidence and studies from around the world that underscore its medicinal value.”