Who is stopping medical cannabis in Iowa?

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On Sept. 22 there was a forum on medical marijuana put on by the Jones County Safe and Healthy Youth Coalition.

It saddens me the coalition puts on forums to stop medical cannabis. We have an epidemic of heroin, opiate, and prescription drug deaths among our youth and the coalition instead is more interested in stopping medical cannabis. Why are they and our GOP legislators worried about a medical cannabis that is non-addictive and has never killed anyone instead of drugs that are killing thousands?

There is an article in the Nation Magazine from July 2, 2014 “The Real Reason Pot still is Illegal” that explains how big pharma puts big money into these groups like the coalition, so they can control the narrative. So they can stop medical cannabis and educate on opiates and other drugs. Pharmaceutical companies have invested $880 million dollars in the last decade to stop medical cannabis in America. These companies do not want to lose the sales for medicine for pain, arthritis, depression, anxiety, MS, epilepsy, PTSD or cancer. Does the coalition realize that opiate deaths in states with medical cannabis programs have dropped on the average by 25 percent?

I have been watching the medical cannabis issue in Iowa since the Pharmacy Board recommended that cannabis be rescheduled in 2010. The Iowa GOP majority House has been baby-stepping this for six years.

Medical Cannabis has been around for 20 years; 87 percent of Iowans approve of medical cannabis. Twenty-five states have medical cannabis programs; none have given up their programs. There are 20,000 studies that have been done on medical cannabis. A large portion of FDA drugs are approved based on one study.

At the forum, legislative candidates said: “We need more research,” “wait for the federal government,” “I’m not a doctor”, the “FDA has not approved it,” “we don’t want to be like Colorado.” There are 22 veterans killing themselves every day, to say nothing of little kids and other Iowans who are suffering and dying, and these people are dithering. I know combat veterans from Maine to San Francisco and they thrive on cannabis, they are able to get off their dangerous and deadly VA drugs and have productive lives. Is getting a safe and effective medical cannabis program too much to ask from the people they fought to protect?

Call your legislative candidates and get a commitment from them to vote for a comprehensive whole plant cannabis bill in Iowa next year or don’t vote for them.

• Jon Custis, of Anamosa, is a Vietnam combat veteran, who suffers from PTSD, chronic pain, and glaucoma. He worked in law enforcement and corrections for 24 years.

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