Hopes dim for medical marijuana in Iowa

The clock could be running out this year for activists urging the Iowa Legislature to approve expanded access to medical marijuana.

Iowa Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, told reporters Tuesday he is keeping the door open for medical cannabis legislation, but his goal is to have the Senate adjourn its 2016 session this week. He spoke one day after the Iowa House defeated a Republican-backed bill aimed at helping Iowans with debilitating diseases access cannabis oil in Minnesota and other states and bring it back to Iowa.

"I always say that hope springs eternal," Gronstal said. For medical marijuana advocates, he added, the good news is that the issue of medical cannabis has been explored by many Iowans, and both the House and Senate are familiar with the topic, "so maybe there is an opportunity for something."

However, Rep. Dave Heaton, R-Mount Pleasant, chairman of a health and human services budget subcommittee, said he believes the medical marijuana issue likely is dead...

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