Democrats Not Giving Up on Medical Cannabis Expansion

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DES MOINES, Iowa — The fight for medical cannabis hit another roadblock late Monday.

House Republicans failed to take up a Democratic amendment that would create a comprehensive medical cannabis program in the state.

Families fighting for a comprehensive medical cannabis bill filled the statehouse Tuesday with emotional pleas for lawmakers.

House Democrats introduced an amendment that never got the chance to be debated due to a Republican amendment that took priority due to order it was called. That amendment suggested forming a relationship with a neighboring state for Iowans to get access, but it also failed to pass.

The group Iowans 4 Medical Cannabis says it desperately needs a comprehensive medical cannabis program in the state where the plant is grown and distributed to sick, suffering Iowans.

“People fought this, but people can win. This the session is not over. It doesn’t matter which party, we are all Iowans and I ask you to do something before the session is over,” said Des Moines mom Maria La France, whose son’s epilepsy could greatly be helped by medical cannabis.

“I’m disappointed. I feel mislead by members of the Iowa House. We’ve been working on this for months and what they did last night showed they have no conscience,” said Sally Gaer, of Iowans  4 Medical Cannabis.

House Democrats called on the House majority Tuesday to take up the Democratic amendment and let it go up for floor debate. Democrats are confident if a comprehensive cannabis program bill was debated on the floor, it would pass the Iowa House.

The Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy is not signing on to the medical cannabis plan those parents are pushing for. Director Steve Lukan said the drug needs to go through the same process as every other drug.

“We support science, we support research, hope and optimism. We make sure we’re using sound science and proper medical guidance,” Lukan said.

Lukan said he is worried about public safety as well as the needs of children. He said a “relaxation” of cannabis laws can quickly morph out of control, and he’s seen it happen in other states.

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