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Iowa lawmakers will again debate the controversial topic of medical marijuana in the upcoming session.

Joe Bolckom, a state senator from Iowa City, said he’s introduced bills on the issue four times in the past decade.

This time he says he’s taking an approach that passed in New Mexico in 2007.

“I think it’s pretty clear we need to have physician control in place to make sure access only goes to those with chronic, debilitating conditions,” said Senator Bolckom.

Bolckom will push two bills in 2014.

The first would classify marijuana as a form of medicine.  The second would create the program allowing medical access to the drug.

Only patients with confirmed debilitating illnesses by a doctor would be legally eligible.

In New Mexico, that includes certain types of cancer, spinal injuries, and PTSD.

Dr. Steven Jenison played a role in creating the bill in New Mexico.  He said 20 states have passed similar legislation creating a good model for Iowa.

“I think Iowa has the advantage of several states that have done something analogous to what Iowa would do if they want to start a program and the state can benefit from that experience,” Jenison said.

Senator Bolckom and Jenison will be speaking about the New Mexico program for medical marijuana on Monday in Des Moines.

The event will be held at the Des Moines Public Library starting at 6 p.m.