Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bob Vander Plaats Urges Legislators to Expand Iowa's Medical Cannabis Law

Iowa's "kingmaker," Bob Vander Plaats of The FAMiLY Leader, spoke to legislators earlier today -- not about his usual topic (i.e., trying to ban gay marriage and to disenfranchise gay families), but about strengthening Iowa's medical cannabis oil law.

Iowa legalized access to cannabis oil to relieve uncontrolled seizure conditions last year. However, the law is pretty much worthless. It is not legal to produce or sell it here in Iowa. It's most likely against federal law to transport it across state lines into Iowa. And most states which have legalized access to forms of medical marijuana have restricted access to their own residents. Since then, there have been efforts by Iowans to get the state's largely non-responsive lawmakers to get our own cannabis oil law to make sense.

It was pretty jarring to come home from work and find that Iowa's number one culture warrior was advocating for something instead of against families like mine. You would think that he has a stake in this particular game -- and you'd be right. It seems like one of BVP's sons experiences severe seizures and would benefit from the improvement of this law:
Vander Plaats, who is president of The Family Leader, said he was not speaking on behalf of the organization, but as a father. His third son, Lucas, was born with a brain condition and suffers from seizures.

"We've seen what happens when children have seizures and the different maneuvers we need to make and the games you need to play to get the right seizure medication to control the seizure that would limit or reduce the side effects greatly," he said from the statehouse.

Vander Plaats said he and his wife were "applauding and cheering silently from the sidelines" last year as the state decriminalized possession of marijuana extract for patients with epilepsy.
However, the law did not make it legal to grow or sell the product in Iowa, he noted.

Individuals looking to purchase it must obtain ID cards allowing them to possess oil purchased from other states. After that they face another hurdle: Of the 23 states permitting the use of medical marijuana, 20 states require proof of residency.

"Now, as Iowans, we believe we need to take the next step and figure out how it is we get this medical cannabis oil into the hands of parents so their children can benefit from it," Vander Plaats said.

He said Iowa has the resources to grow marijuana, harvest it, process it and dispense the cannabis oil "with ethics and integrity." He said the state's universities have resources that could be used to help make that happen.
I hate that I'm applauding his words in this instance. He makes sense. What is preventing Iowa from establishing a secure way to produce and distribute cannabis oil to eligible Iowans? We already have laws that address schedule 1 medications. Why can't we do something similar for cannabis oil? Heck, why can't we expand the existing law to address other specified medical conditions besides seizures??

Why couldn't BVP take a break from attacking Iowa's gay families and work full-time towards actually improving the lives of Iowans? How about a resume change, Bob??

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