DES MOINES, IOWA – AUGUST 20, 2015: Des Moines Skyline. Des Moin

Iowa MMJ Bill Gets Unexpected Support

If the current pending legislation goes through, Iowa, the very heart of America’s heartland, could soon join the ever-growing list of states with functional medical marijuana programs. Don’t get too excited; the bill is more akin to the ones passed in New York or Illinois than it is to anything like say, California or Michigan, as it is stiflingly narrow in scope of application. But a step forward is a step forward, no matter how small.

The truly noteworthy and surprising part of the story, however, is the group that has come together to back the bill. According to The Des Moines Register, it’s not NORML or the MPP to take front and center on ringing the bell of progress, but “Some of Iowa’s most influential business leaders.”

“Now is the time to help suffering Iowans and their families get legal access to this medicine, and we hereby call on Iowa lawmakers to debate and pass Comprehensive Medical Cannabis legislation this session,” a letter signed by more than 90 business leaders and sent to lawmakers reads.

Meredith Corp. CEO Steve Lacy, Principal Financial Group CEO Dan Houston, Bankers Trust CEO Suku Radia, Knapp Properties CEO Gerry Neugent, local real estate developer Bill Knapp and Belin McCormick attorney Steve Zumbach are among the influential names attached to it.

The full list of signers includes seven of the Business Record’s top 10 most influential Des Moines business leaders of 2016 and spans several industries from banking and insurance to publishing and real estate. [TDMR]

Unfortunately, though it is encouraging to see the white collar community getting behind the cause of medical cannabis, the bill (House File 2384), as mentioned before, is a limited success for the legalization movement as a whole. Basically, the legislation allows for the establishment of two grow facilities by the state, which would distribute low-THC oil to those suffering from a very small selection of conditions. Specifically, those conditions are limited to intractable epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and cancer. Never mind the fact that study after study has shown the plant to be effective in treating PTSD, or is pretty much a miracle drug for Crohn’s Disease, along with a myriad of other afflictions. Those individuals will have to wait for the next round, perhaps.

Thanks to a law passed back in 2014, it is technically already legal for people with these conditions to medicate with cannabis oil. However, a conflicting law that bans the manufacturing or sale of the substance within the state has left these select few patients in a legal Catch-22. The current legislation is the remedy that will eliminate both the rock and hard place that currently exists. Originally the new legislation was written to expand the list of afflictions eligible for medical cannabis treatment, but lawmakers caved and scaled it back to the original three, citing a lack of faith in their ability to garner the necessary support.

So, to sum up, a remedy was written to give teeth to the bill that legalized the remedy, but now Iowa needs to recognize that the remedy can be a remedy for a much wider list of issues requiring a remedy. Say that five times really fast and then pray that the citizenry of the Hawkeye State elects to give those suffering the medicine they need.

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