Government

#9 Medical marijuana goes on sale in Iowa | The Gazette Top Stories 2018

Some push for more health conditions to be permitted to buy the products

Lucas Nelson, general manager of MedPharm Iowa, shows a slide from the company’s first harvest, during an event at the Des Moines manufacturing facility on Oct. 17. (Matthew Putney/Freelance)
Lucas Nelson, general manager of MedPharm Iowa, shows a slide from the company’s first harvest, during an event at the Des Moines manufacturing facility on Oct. 17. (Matthew Putney/Freelance)

Medical marijuana products went on sale for the first time in Iowa this year under the state’s expanded program, opening the door to more Iowans seeking treatment that’s becoming more commonplace nationwide.

But there’s still an effort to expand the program to more individuals by patients and stakeholders alike who say the program remains too restrictive.

Starting Dec. 1, products from the first state-licensed medical marijuana manufacturing facility — MedPharm Iowa — went on sale at five state-approved dispensaries.

Iowa Relief, the second of the cannabis facilities, broke ground in southwest Cedar Rapids last month and is set to begin production this coming spring. Their products will be on sale July 1.

The program is restricted to individuals with specific conditions — such as seizures, cancer or untreatable pain — that must be certified by the patient’s primary care physician.

There has been a push in the months since the program was established to include more conditions on the list — a call businesses involved in the program echo. But with the limited number of patients, officials at the state’s medical marijuana manufacturers expressed uncertainty on its long-term sustainability.

However, both manufacturers have emphasized they are committed to Iowa and believe the program will expand in the coming months.

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There has been recent movement to this effect. Earlier this month, the Iowa Board of Medicine, a governing body of the program, approved ulcerative colitis for the program sometime in the spring.

The board also is considering adopting severe, extractive pediatric autism with self-injurious or aggressive behavior.

• Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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