If legislators in Iowa don’t expand the current medical cannabis program, which basically allows residents to use CBD oil for the treatment of intractable epilepsy, there will be negative effects on MMJ patients. Without legislative action, the program expires on July 1 and Iowa’s 222 medical cannabis patients will be in jeopardized. The program already has its issues because it does not provide an avenue for Iowans to obtain CBD oil, or any medical cannabis products, in Iowa. Patients are required to travel to states where it is produced. Unfortunately, not all states permit the sale of medical marijuana products to people who aren’t residents.

That is why people like Cassie Helland are getting worried. Her 10-year-old son’s seizures stopped after two weeks of using CBD oil and never came back. Such cases like Caleb Helland’s epilepsy are not isolated. Ms. Helland and her fellow advocates have spent the past two years pressing legislators to expand the program. An editorial published in the Sioux City Journal said “lack of action returns the state, and those who suffer from epilepsy and other illnesses for which medical marijuana might help, to square one.” While the Iowa legislature took a crucial first step in 2014 and passed a limited medical marijuana program, the bill never addressed production and distribution of MMJ the state. In other words, Iowans with medical cannabis cards can possess CBD oil legally for epilepsy therapy, however, it is not legal to produce or distribute it. Cassie told the Quad-City Times that many families have to use their MMJ card to get CBD oil from states like Colorado.

Several states have medical cannabis reciprocity, including: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Supporters for expansion say they would also like more forms of medical marijuana to be legalized for more conditions, such as PTSD and cancer. Sally Gaer of West Des Moines, co-founder of the advocacy group Iowans 4 Medical Cannabis, whose daughter has a rare form of epilepsy stated, “We are hopeful for a more comprehensive program that will help more Iowans. We have kids with epilepsy that need THCA (another compound that occurs naturally in the marijuana plant) because the oil doesn’t work for them, so they need a different component of the plant. So we need to help those kids.”

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