As one of the states that have recently passed medical marijuana legalization laws, Iowa is slowly coming to terms with the implications that such a move will have on society at large. One of the issues that have come to the fore is how medical marijuana patients and providers will deal with a law that some are now seeing as somewhat narrow in its scope. Only a few months old, the law is now under scrutiny from medical marijuana advocates who are now seeking to expand its coverage to consider the specific needs of chronically ill patients.

Under Iowa law, patients suffering from chronic epilepsy are allowed to obtain oil extracted from marijuana plants. As in many other states that have legalized the use of cannabis extracts however, there are strict laws currently in place with regard to how the oil can be obtained. Iowa residents must obtain the oil from another state in which the production marijuana oil is legal for one thing, and they will have to be granted a state registration card in order to have legal access to the oil.

A number of lawmakers in Iowa have been campaigning for a more comprehensive medical cannabis law. One of the most vocal is Sen. Joe Bolkcom, a democrat who has expressed hope that a bill which he sponsored would get support from both parties when it comes under consideration in 2015. Although Bolckom’s past efforts toward a more comprehensive medical marijuana law have been thwarted in the past, the senator expressed optimism that the “tide is turning”, citing the support that pro-marijuana advocates have received from increasingly informed voters in the state.

To date, 23 states and the District of Colombia have enacted differing versions of medical marijuana laws. Iowa is one of 11 states that have passed their own laws, albeit in more limited fashion. Pro-marijuana advocates have cited the value of cannabis in helping patients deal with the symptoms of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and a host of other medical conditions.joe-bolkcom

Even in its limited state, the current laws permitting the use of marijuana oil in Iowa is the result of a long and hard-fought campaign. Despite the glaring limitations of the law, many lawmakers in the state seem reluctant to push for increased coverage. Cedar Falls Rep. Walt Rogers for one has gone on record stating that he would not support broader coverage marijuana laws. The representative himself did not vote for the bill that was passed earlier in the year, saying that it sent teens a “wrong message” about the use of drugs. Like many medical marijuana opponents, Roger out forth the ‘slippery slope” theory behind legalization, saying that it might lead to outright legalization.

Nevertheless, voters in Iowa have clearly put their support behind legalization, with a Quinnipiac University poll having shown that more than 80% of voters in the state approved the legalization of medical marijuana for adults that have been prescribed the drug by doctors. In any case, patients who have a need for the oil will have to wait until the implementation of the new law is finalized.

About the Author: Brian Ellis

With 6 years' experience in business journalism, Brian is the person we turn to for anything related to the business of cannabis. His news coverage spans topics including marijuana business and finance. Brian's work features on,, , and

Related Articles

Back to News