OPINION

Iowa should enact a sensible medical cannabis law

Dax Colwell of DamaOil holds a container of his company's concentrated medicinal cannabis oil extracted from marijuana at Canna Pi medical dispensary in Seattle, Washington, November 27, 2012.  Medical cannabis in various forms is often prescribed for a variety of medical conditions including cancer, chronic pain, nausea, anorexia, migraines and glaucoma.  REUTERS/Anthony Bolante
Dax Colwell of DamaOil holds a container of his company's concentrated medicinal cannabis oil extracted from marijuana at Canna Pi medical dispensary in Seattle, Washington, November 27, 2012. Medical cannabis in various forms is often prescribed for a variety of medical conditions including cancer, chronic pain, nausea, anorexia, migraines and glaucoma. REUTERS/Anthony Bolante
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The news that our governor is interested in working with Illinois on medical cannabis leaves me disappointed and baffled.

Is he aware there is an active lobby advocating for an expanded medical cannabis bill that would enable Iowans with serious medical conditions to access the form of cannabis our doctors deem best suited for our needs?

Mountains of research has been conducted around the world on this substance. Iowa needs to unbind the hands of medical doctors and allow cannabis to be freely prescribed as appropriate. Cannabis should be moved from a Schedule I drug to Schedule II to be utilized by Iowans with serious illnesses such as epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, MS, post-traumatic stress disorder, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, anorexia, wasting disease, nausea and lack of appetite from chemotherapy, fibromyalgia, and neuropathy, as well as for those in hospice (to name a few).

As a healthy 61 year old, I advocate not for myself but for those who are too ill to do so. When my husband was aged 29-34 and his life was being decimated by Crohn’s disease, we didn’t know cannabis might have helped.

He tried many dangerous drugs, including high doses of steroids (which did not help) before he finally opted to have his colon removed in a last-ditch shot at a “normal” life. Unfortunately, the remaining years of his life could not have been considered normal.

How many lives must be so negatively impacted before we make a change?

We need our own fully functional medical cannabis program in Iowa. We can do this in a way that will help all citizens who need it, without relying on our neighbor to the east.

Governor Branstad has an opportunity to go on record as not only the longest serving governor of Iowa, but the one who showed the most compassion to the medically fragile and hurting people of this state.

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With all respect I ask him and our legislators to please listen to advocates asking for a sensible, workable approach to cannabis. It is time.

• Kathy Schnell is a lifelong Iowan. Comments: kathyschnell@frontier.com

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