The bill would allow the production and dispensing of marijuana in Iowa for the treatment of certain medical conditions.
Democrats on a five-member panel signed off on the bill. Two Republicans declined to sign on.
Drake University Professor of Pharmacy Frank Caliguiri briefed state lawmakers on the benefits of medical marijuana. Caliguiri presented research showing cannabis is effective for treating pain.
“I hope I have addressed the specific concerns about the lack of data or anecdotal reports,” Caliguiri says. “I want to remind you that you are here to represent the people of Iowa and Iowans overwhelmingly support the use of medical cannabis.”
Caliguiri cited surveys showing that legalizing medical marijuana does not lead to more recreational use of the drug.
“What I've done here is include all the states who have legalized medical marijuana, including those who've approved cannabis oil,” Caliguiri says. “That's a total of 33 states, and only four have moved on to recreational marijuana.”
Also on Wednesday, conservative activist Bob Vanderplaats urged lawmakers to approve the legal production and dispensing of marijuana for the treatment of severe epilepsy in children. Vanderplaats’s son suffers from severe seizures. A bill approved last year has failed to provide access for patients with seizure disorders.