Iowa Talking Seriously about Medical Marijuana

Legislative leaders like House Republican Leader Linda Upmeyer say the tide may be turning for efforts to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes, although they don’t expect legalization to happen this year.

“The discussion has risen to a different level or changed appreciably this year.”

Upmeyer, who holds a masters degree in nursing, says legislators “want to be educated” because “technically it’s very challenging” to write a law that would legalize marijuana use in limited circumstances…

“But I think there is interest, certainly. The moms who testified make a very compelling argument for folks to at least study this issue and see what’s possible.”

Sally Gaer of West Des Moines is a mother who has told her story, twice, during public events at the statehouse this year. Gaer’s 24-year-old daughter, Margaret, has a rare form of epilepsy…

“We want the ability to have cannabis as a treatment option for Margaret in Iowa. We want this option available for other Iowans as well who suffer from life-threatening, debilitating diseases,” Gaer told a senate committee this past week. “The medical evidence is overwhelming that cannabis has accepted medical benefit. Epileptic patients are witnessing miracles with cannabis in the form of a oil, edible pill, juiced or vaporized.”

Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says it’s “pretty clear” research has determined medical marijuana can be an “appropriate treatment” for things like seizure disorders and for patients undergoing chemotherapy.