Iowans rally for Medical Cannabis at the Statehouse
It's crunch time for another piece of legislation in the Iowa Statehouse that some lawmakers say could help thousands of Iowans with chronic medical conditions.
The Cannabidiol Act is working through the House right now and would make cannabis oil easier to get by more Iowans who need it. A bill passed in 2014 allows possession of the oil, but makes it nearly impossible to obtain legally in the state and only patients with severe epilepsy are allowed to use it.
On the steps of the Statehouse, some of the conditions Iowan's want Medical Cannabis Oil to treat are just as complicated as the process to legalize it.
"The medical conditions put into the original bill have been paired down to three conditions and we have a lot of Iowan's who are left out," said Democratic State Representative John Forbes.
One of those Iowans is Aimee Loats.
"I was in and out of the hospital and I can pretty much say my childhood was a blur," said Aimee.
Her Crohn's Disease has resulted in five major surgeries and her colon being removed.
"I think a lot of people look at me and say 'You're not that sick' and I'm here to say, 'That's not true."
The original bill this session would have made Cannabis Oil a legal treatment for 12 conditions, including Aimee's.
"Originally when I spoke at the Capitol, I was told that the bill was pretty much mutilated down to just three diseases," said Aimee.
MS, epilepsy and terminal cancer.
"Without another option that is disheartening to someone like me to say you're not sick enough and only these people are qualified," said Aimee.
So, now, she's pushing for doctors to make those kinds of decisions, not law makers.
"Many people could benefit today if they had the medication," said Forbes.
John Forbes is a pharmacist, and Representative in the House. He says Cannabis Oil needs to be available for more conditions, but also the FDA process that gets a drug to market is just too long. It can take up to seven years, which doesn't help anyone today.
"What about the people suffering now, what about the people in the future," asked Aimee. "What about the people today?"