Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill Advances in Iowa House

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Another bill that would alter Iowa's medical marijuana program is moving ahead at the State Capitol after beating a funnel deadline on Thursday.

House Study Bill 244 would make numerous changes to the state's current medical marijuana laws.  Nurse practitioners and physicians assistants would be allowed to prescribe cannabis-based medication.  The bill would also change the way the strength of those drugs is measured, switching to a system based on how many milligrams of THC are in a product.  The current system lists a percentage of THC in a product.

Earlier this week the Iowa Senate passed its own bill to expand the medical cannabis law.  The Senate bill added post traumatic stress disorder as diagnosis eligible for cannabis-based drugs.  House members acknowledged they are monitoring the Senate bill but are focused on their own bill.  Republicans and Democrats on the House Public Safety Committee thanked each other for the cooperation on their bill.

"I think we are moving in the right direction with this piece of legislation," Democrat Wes Breckenridge of Jasper County said, "There are a couple of areas we'd like to see if we can tweak and improve and expand upon.  But I truly appreciate the opportunity to work together on this."

"I've been working on this issue for several years now and one of the things I've found that works quite well is getting all of the parties together and sit down and figure out 'maybe there are some improvements'", said Republican Bob Kressig of Cedar Falls.

The committee unanimously approved the bill.  Any non-budget bill that didn't make it out of committee by the end of Thursday is dead for this session.

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