JOHNSTON — Since the Iowa Legislature first passed a law in 2014 to allow the use of medical cannabis, lawmakers have been making adjustments and discussing expanding the law to make it available for more health-related uses.
Two lawmakers involved in that discussion this year are optimistic a modest expansion already approved by the House will become law.
However, the measure is meeting resistance from lawmakers concerned the state is getting ahead of federal medical cannabis policy and that legislators don’t have the medical expertise to be making decisions about its use. Others question its efficacy.
“I would just say that this is part of a learning continuum,” Senate President Charles Schneider, R-West Des Moines, said during taping of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” that can be seen at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Friday).
He was among the legislators who pushed for passage of the law in 2014 and who have supported the changes made since then.
“It was only after listening to my own constituents and friends who have family members with debilitating conditions who would have benefited from this that I finally got comfortable with it,” Schneider said.
Federal inaction limits the Legislature’s ability to expand medical cannabis usage, he said.
Reclassifying cannabis from a Schedule I drug to Schedule II, he said, “would open it up for more research, and ultimately what I would like to see is people be able to treat this just like any other medications, doctors be able to prescribe it just like any other medication, people to be able to go into John Forbes’ pharmacy and buy it just like any other medication.”