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Senate Passes Marijuana Oil Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- The Iowa Senate today passed groundbreaking legislation designed to provide long sought after relief for epilepsy patients and their families in the state.

Following the lead of two Senate committees, the full Senate this afternoon voted 36 to 12 to legalize cannabis oil as a last resort treatment for chronic epilepsy. This form of marijuana cannot be smoked and does not create a high, and it's a treatment one medical expert says is needed to give families the relief they so desperately seek.

"If I've run through the gamut of anti-convulsant and none of them have worked and this is another potential agent that will work," neurologist, Dr. Thomas Carlstrom said. "I want to have that available to me."

Senator Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City is now urging the Iowa House to quickly follow suit.

"The session is getting ready to wind up,' Bolkcom said. "I'd hate to have the clock run out on these families and their suffering"

Senator Liz Mathis says after talking with House Speaker Kraig Paulsen she remains hopeful.

"He's supportive of this. He's starting to get this," Mathis said. "So of he's starting to get this those who are most conservative, and I was probably a part of that group, are starting to think through this."

Supporters of this bill credit the efforts of families like the Selmeski family, who lobbied tirelessly for its passage to help their epileptic daughter and others like her. They say skeptics just need to get informed.

"Interestingly enough, the U.S. holds a patent on the medical marijuana,' Rachael Semelski said. "So it's a schedule one substance they say has no medical value but the U.S. holds a patent on the medicinal use of marijuana. Talk about messed up."

If the bill becomes law, families would have to obtain the cannabis oil in another state that produces it. The measure would protect them from prosecution in Iowa for possession.
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