As much as Bluestem has griped about Minnesota's restrictive medical law for leaving 33,000 Minnesotans living with severe pain, PTSD and other ailments, we're happy that the North Star state didn't end up with a law like the one Iowa Governor Terry Branstad recently signed.
While it might have made Rep. Carly Melin's closest allies in law enforcement happy, it would have satisfied few others. The Des Moines Register reported in Branstad signs cannabis oil bill:
The bill, which takes effect July 1, will prevent Iowa prosecution of families who purchase the special marijuana extract in other states, such as Colorado. In order to qualify, families will need to obtain recommendations from an Iowa neurologist.
Activists celebrated after the bill signing, but noted they still face hurdles: They will have to find an Iowa doctor willing to sign on, they will have to shoulder the financial burden of traveling to other states, and they may have to get on waiting lists of families looking to obtain the marijuana extract.
As the Quad Cities Times pointed out in Q-C will test vastly different medical marijuana laws:
. . . Iowa’s three-year pilot project simply eliminates the risk of arrest for 100 or so chronically ill epilepsy patients who choose to seek out their own cannabis oil extract. When the pilot ends in 2017, the state will have no infrastructure; only a small group of Iowans and research assessing the effectiveness of the treatment. . . .
In Help or Hazard?, the Sioux City Journal looks at the concerns raised by a law that doesn't create any infrastructure or quality control for the product patients might obtain on their own:
A new law that will allow seizure sufferers in Iowa to use a marijuana extract to help control their disease has a local doctor worried about the possible risks to children.
Iowans who can legally possess up to 32 ounces of cannabidiol oil starting July 1 will have to buy the product from out-of-state dispensaries and dealers, and there's no way to know what kinds of impurities it may contain, said Mercy Medical Center emergency room physician Thomas Benzoni.
"More and more we're seeing toxic agents seep into drugs,” Benzoni said.
Some cannabidiol contains potentially deadly oil-based insecticides used to treat cannabis plants. . . .
Nor can Iowans cross the border to obtain safe, tested cannabis when and if our dispensaries start operation in 2015, the paper reports:
Iowa residents won’t be able to buy medical marijuana in Minnesota. The state’s law restricts access to Minnesota residents diagnosed with qualifying conditions and registered with the Department of Health.
This may turn Nebraska into a smugglers' corridor for western Iowans, according to the article:
Iowans can travel to Colorado to buy marijuana and marijuana products from a licensed retail shop but can't legally take it out of the state. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, there is no difference between marijuana sold for retail and medical use.
Anyone caught traveling with marijuana through Nebraska, which is between Colorado and Iowa but where the substance is illegal, faces possible arrest.
“Nebraska law has not changed, and marijuana in any form remains illegal,” said Deb Collins, spokeswoman for the Nebraska State Patrol.
Only the states of Arizona, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire and Rhode Island offer reciprocity for patients with out-of-state medical marijuana identification cards.
While we love Minnesota-Iowa jokes, this situation isn't a laughing material for people living with ailments that medical cannabis can help--neither the 100 or so people for whom Iowa's lw will help avoid arrest in their own state--or the many others who won't have access to other forms of medical cannabis.
And we have to wonder, as did the editors of the Quad City Times, about how our own state might have gained under conditions more similiar to Illinois's new law:
. . . Illinois law allows smoking, ingesting or topical marijuana treatment for more than two dozen conditions. It creates an advisory board that will consider additional ailments that qualify for medicinal marijuana. . . .
. . . Illinois four-year pilot project creates a new business network rife with opportunities for marijuana entrepreneurs who have millions of dollars ready to invest. When the pilot project ends in 2018, Illinois will have a production and distribution network and millions in fee and tax revenue to consider. . . .
Minnesota's situation won't be as dire as that in Iowa, but neither will we have the 22 marijuana growing centers and 60 dispensaries that are attracting investors to Illinois.
Photo: Iowans who obtain permits for possession of cannabis oil at home but who cross Nebraska to Colorado where it is sold legally better be on the watch for Nebraska state troopers.
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