Petitioners urging Iowa to expand medical marijuana program

DES MOINES — More than 1,500 Iowans have signed a petition urging Governor Kim Reynolds to sign a bill that expands the state’s medical marijuana program. Paul Nye of Ankeny was in the group that delivered the petitions to the governor’s office

“We want to send the message that Iowans are ready,” Nye said. “They’re a progressive state. We’re a healthy state and this is a healthy alternative to some of the painkillers out there.”

Nye used opioids for more than a decade, but for the past six months Nye says he’s used cannabis products to deal with his chronic back pain.

“I think it’s a lifesaver,” Nye said. “I think that many Iowans stand to benefit from the use of this medicine and an arbitrary cap doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

The legislation changes the measurement of the chemical THC that’s allowed in cannabis products sold in five state-licensed locations. Under current law, the chemical component credited with causing the “high” associated with smoking marijuana is limited to three percent content in the oils, creams and pills being sold in Iowa. The bill sets the limit in grams over a 90 day period and could let more potent products be sold in Iowa.

Several lawmakers who voted for the bill have since called on Governor Reynolds to veto it because the state medical marijuana advisory board did not recommend the change.