Iowa State Senate Advances Medical Marijuana Reform Bill

Iowa lawmakers passed a bill this week to tweak the state’s medical marijuana program, and now the measure now awaits the governor’s signature.


Iowa issuing hemp licenses and seed permits


Hemp now can be grown in Iowa - but what's next?

It’s now legal to grow hemp in Iowa. What to do with the crop remains an open question.

“I’ve gotten phone calls and inquiries about potentially growing hemp,” Rebecca Vittetoe, Iowa State University Extension field agronomist based in Washington, Iowa, wrote in an email. “However, the biggest drawback or hang-up right now is the lack of markets. If we grow it, what do we do with it?”

“It’s nothing like a year ago,” said Angie Rieck-Hinz, an Extension field specialist in charge of its hemp production program. “In January and February of 2019 my phone was ringing off the hook. Right now I couldn’t tell you when I’ve last had a hemp phone call.”


2 Of Iowa’s 5 Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Have Closed

Medical marijuana dispensaries have closed in Council Bluffs and Davenport, Iowa health officials said.

The disclosure Monday by the Iowa Public Health Department said patients and caregivers still may purchase the cannabidiol products at Iowa’s three other licensed outlets, in Sioux City, Waterloo and in the Des Moines suburb of Windsor Heights.

It’s not clear why the two dispensaries were closed. Their operators, Have A Heart Compassionate Care, didn’t immediately return messages Wednesday from The Associated Press.


USDA Approves Iowa Hemp Plan

Iowa is good to go with the feds after the USDA recently approved its state plan under the USA’s domestic hemp production program.

“We know farmers are eager for new opportunities and this milestone means they are one step closer to being able to grow hemp during the 2020 growing season,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig recently.

The plan was approved on the 20th of this month, but farmers keen to get cracking will need to wait a while longer before applying for licences.


Poll Shows Most Iowans In Favor of Legalizing Marijuana

A new poll shows that the Hawkeye State is ready to embrace legalization.

The poll from the Des Moines Register and Mediacom found that 53 percent of Iowans support legalizing marijuana for recreational use. According to the Des Moines Register, it marks the first time that the survey, conducted by the pollster Selzer & Co, shows a majority in favor of legalization for recreational use. Selzer & Co. has testing the question since February 2013.


Iowa House Passes Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill, Lowers THC Limits

The Iowa House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that would add more qualifying medical conditions to the state’s medical marijuana program and change the cap on THC for patients. The bill, House File 2589, was passed by a vote of 52 to 46.

Under the bill, post-traumatic stress disorder and “severe, intractable autism with self-injurious or aggressive behaviors” would be added to the state’s list of medical conditions that qualify a patient to use medical marijuana. The measure also changes “untreatable” pain to “chronic” pain on the list.


Proposed Medical Cannabis Changes Worry Some Iowa Patients

Wendy Shoemaker has lived with chronic pain for decades, and she was prescribed opioids to treat it.

“All you do is stand there and watch your life,” she said.

Shoemaker said she couldn’t do much with her daughter when she took opioids. She has holes in her memory from that time, and she was in heart failure. But almost a year ago, she was weaned off opioids and joined Iowa’s medical cannabis program.

At her home overlooking a lake in Dexter, she held up a bottle of pills that contain chemicals found in cannabis.

“It’s so much better on this,” Shoemaker said. “I don’t know if it’s being reborn or what, but I’ll tell you what, it’s working.”


The Complex Issue of Cannabis Business On Tribal Land

Throughout history, cannabis was regulated by federal law on reservations, so it was generally illegal. But after the 2013 Cole Memo, the topic of cannabis on tribal land and how it ties into the tribe’s government autonomy became increasingly prevalent.


How will marijuana use affect us when we're older?

What effect does marijuana have on the aging body? In partnership with the National Institute of Health, the University of Iowa plans to find out with a first-of-its-kind research project.

Neurologist and radiologist Dr. Thorsten Rudroff, whose background includes a PhD in neurophysiology and a degree in physical therapy, is heading up the study. Exploring cognition, motor function, balance and other elements of the human body, Thorsten  believes the time has come to “find out if medical marijuana increases this risk of cognitive issues and which products with higher or lower THC content, are safe to use.”


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