DES MOINES, IA — A bill to legalize medical marijuana was introduced in Iowa on Tuesday, and later that day the bill was declared dead for the year by the bill’s primary sponsor.
Senate File 2215, introduced by Senator Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City), would have allowed patients with certain medical conditions to receive medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.
The bill would have created one of the most limited medical marijuana programs in the country. Initial qualifying conditions included only cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, or severe spinal cord injuries. Additional conditions would have to be approved at a later date by the Department of Public Health.
Despite the narrow scope of the bill, however, it was unable to pick up bipartisan support despite a recent nationwide surge in public support for medical marijuana and national media attention on medical marijuana for children with epilepsy.
“I could cry I’m so disappointed,” said Tina McDermott, who’s son Ryan suffers from Dravet syndrome, one of several parents to speak in favor of the bill at a press conference Tuesday. “There’s not even a chance for our kids. Unbelievable.”
Prospective bills in Iowa have only until Friday to make it through the committee process to be considered by the full Senate this session. Because Bolkcom’s bill lacks bipartisan support and has yet to be assigned to a committee, the Senator declared the bill dead late Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s dead,” Sen. Bolkcom said. “There’s disappointment we were not able to recruit bipartisan support for a very narrow bill to help these families with children suffering from seizures as a result of epilepsy.”
“We’re not going to be successful creating a program until we have bipartisan support for it,” Bolkcom added, looking ahead to next year. “We have a lot of education work to do ahead here.”