Iowa Senate moves forward with changes to Iowa's medical cannabis law

An Iowa Senate committee approved a bill that would make changes to the state's medical cannabis law Monday, including removing the cap on THC (Photo: Caroline Cummings)

A committee in the Iowa Senate signed off on a bill that would make changes to the state's medical cannabis law Monday.

Critics of the current law say the cap on tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, at three percent on is too restrictive. THC is the part of cannabis that can make recreational marijuana users high.

They also argue the limited number of qualifying conditions under the law prevents some patients from benefiting from medical cannabis oil.

"There are thousands of Iowans counting on us to deliver and I think we’ve provided some false hope," said Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, who recently called the current Iowa medical cannabis law "the worst in the country."

"The current law is not going to provide any relief to thousands of Iowans who are counting on it," Bolkcom told the Ways and Means Committee during a meeting Monday. He said he supports the bill, which would remove the three percent cap on THC levels and removes any sales tax on medical cannabis products.

It would also allow doctors to determine if medical cannabidiol is beneficial for patient's condition. Right now, current law does not have this provision.

MedPharm Iowa, the state's only medical cannabis manufacturer, spoke in favor of the bill. The company argues that the THC cap removal is critical for it to serve sick Iowans and remain sustainable long term. The company has made a $10 million investment and is set to plant, in order to get product on dispensary shelves by December 1, which is required under the law.

The bill will likely face a hurdle in the House, its fate uncertain after the chamber rejected a similar Senate bill last year in favor of stricter legislation, which is now current law.

Lawmakers are currently working overtime, almost a week after the 100th calendar of session, or the last day legislators get paid under Iowa law.

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