Tearful Reaction to Marijuana Vote

Apr 26, 2016

Activists held a news conference at the statehouse today, visibly shaken by Monday night’s defeat in the House of a medical marijuana bill.  

Backers of medical marijuana say they are still hoping lawmakers will approve a bill legalizing its production and distribution in Iowa so patients don’t have to travel to other states. 

Rep. Clel Baudler (R-Greenfield) with medical marijuana activists Marie LaFrance and Sally Gaer
Credit Joyce Russell/IPR

Parents of epileptic children including, Sally Gaer of West Des Moines, say the legislative session is not over yet.

”There is a way to fix this and I implore the house to continue to fight,” Gaer said. 

“I ask you to do something before the session is over,” said Marie LaFrance of Des Moines who also has an epileptic child.   “The governor will sign it.”

The bill defeated last night would have continued to require patients to travel to other states to acquire cannabis oil.

Michelle Richardson of Norwalk has multiple sclerosis and she wants lawmakers to set up a growing and distribution operation here in Iowa for cannabis oil, pills and vapor. "If I have to cross state lines to get the medication, I'm not going to do that," Richardson says. "Look at me. I'm not going to go to jail for that." 

“I feel misled by members of the Iowa House,” Gaer said.  “We’ve been working on this for months.”

The bill to allow production and distribution of medical marijuana has stalled in the Iowa House as the session is winding down.   Democratic attempts to revive it have failed.

Some Republicans say producing marijuana in Iowa would not be cost-efficient.   Others oppose legislation increasing access to marijuana in any form.

The Iowa Senate has passed a medical marijuana bill covering many different conditions and allowing broad production and distribution within the state.