DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowans 4 Medical Cannabis hosted a Compassionate Cannabis Rally at the Capitol on Tuesday to support legislation that would expand the state's current medical cannabis law.
The bill would allow manufacturing, distribution and possession of medical cannabis in Iowa.
Republican Rep. Peter Cownie introduced the bill.
"I think about all the things we do in this building behind us, whether we fund our schools, fund our courts, or provide an environment for jobs. And there's one common factor: We're trying to make Iowa a better place, we're trying to help Iowans. And this bill can help Iowans who need it most."
Medical professionals also spoke in support urging lawmakers to give doctors the option to prescribe medical cannabis to their patients including Dr. Charles Goldman, from Des Moines.
"I’m one of the 75 percent of physicians who believe that medical marijuana should be legal in all 50 states, and I think that’s a pretty important number because physicians are conservative -- conservative politically and conservative with social issues. Yet, 75 percent of them believe medical marijuana should be legal everywhere," Goldman said.
Rep. John Forbes also spoke out in support citing his 35 years as a pharmacist.
"I see what the effect of these medications can do on a person's total physical body. Sometimes the doses we have to give to treat seizures are almost enough to kill a patient, using this medication. Medical cannabis will help reduce the number of medications these patients take and give them a better quality of life," Forbes said.
Windsor Heights Mayor Diana Willits also announced it's the first city in the state to pass a resolution in support of medical cannabis legislation and will be urging other cities to follow suit.
"Please help our citizens, our citizens need this. They've asked for this drug and need this drug. It's what the citizens want, and our legislature represents the citizens of this state," she said.
President of the Partnership for a Drug Free Iowa, Peter Komendowski, released the following statement against the bill:
"Proposed legislation, House File 2384, the Medical Cannabidiol (CBD) Act, ignores most of Iowa's medical and health care community's advice, and potentially puts Iowa children at risk.
Children exposed to the dangers of treatments that have not been validated under rigorous standards can face unknown consequences.
I understand the fear and frustration anyone has with terrifying illnesses - MS, epilepsy,and cancer, to name a few, are all very scary.
In spite of the fear, it is not safe, nor medically acceptable, to rush largely unproven remedies to market. The compassion for a cure does not warrant the risks to children. Especially when it is probable an FDA approved drug will reach local pharmacies as early as 2017.
Rather than legislating medicine, The Partnership for a Drug Free Iowa supports the clinical trials of CBD at University of Iowa Hospitals and the oversight and validation of medicines by the FDA. "
The bill is currently stalled in the House Ways and Means Committee.
Iowans 4 Medical Cannabis is calling on lawmakers to move the bill onto the House floor for debate within the next 24 hours.