Soon residents of Iowa could obtain medical marijuana products for a broader scope of health problems under a bill moving within the state’s Senate. On Monday, the subcommittee approved the bill expanding Iowa’s fledgling medical marijuana program. Under the current rules, patients who want to participate in the program have to get a physician to certify and confirm that they are ailing from a qualifying medical condition.
If the bill becomes law, the measure would allow healthcare providers to approve the use of marijuana products for all conditions which they have determined could be medically beneficial. The new measure is modeled on rules governing orders of prescription drugs.
Physicians are the only ones that can certify patients for Iowa’s program. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants would also have the ability to certify patients. Medical marijuana products can also be delivered to their homes. Caregivers and patients will now have to travel to one of the five dispensaries across the state.
Iowa patients who have obtained state cards add up to about 1,200. The state cards allow them to purchase creams, oils or capsules with cannabis extracts under the program. The Iowa marijuana program was officially launched in December 2018. Linda Upmeyer, House Speaker, has been cynical about the expansion of the medical marijuana program. Colin Tadlock, her spokesman, confirmed on Monday that she sees no point for the Legislature to increase the list of conditions for the purchase of marijuana extracts by Iowans.
In an email to the Des Moines Register, Tadlock noted that the 2017 law that set up the program included a board of physicians with the power to recommend new conditions add up to the list.