After bipartisan votes in both the House and Senate, a bill to allow parents of children with intractable epilepsy suffering from constant seizures to use medical cannabis medicine was signed into law by the Governor on May 27.

The bill, Senate File 2360, was approved with bi-partisan votes after months of intense lobbying by parents who have exhausted every other medical option to reduce seizures for their children who experience well over 10 seizures per day. It decriminalizes the possession of cannabidiol that contains up to 3% of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) only for patients that have been diagnosed with intractable epilepsy and their care givers. Cannabidiol and THC are main components in marijuana, which is illegal in Iowa.

Patients and caregivers would not be able to have more than 32 ounces of the medicine in their possession, and they must first apply to the Department of Public Health to receive approval. After approval, they will obtain a registration card that gives them authorization to possess the medicine. Under the legislation, the medicine must be obtained outside of Iowa.

The next step is for the Department of Public Health to write administrative rules spelling out the details and having those rules adopted by the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee.

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Representative Bob Kressig (D-Waterloo) and Representative John Forbes (D-Urbandale) joined families who have children with intractable epilepsy for the signing of the medical cannabis bill.