Pubdate: Tue, 16 Jun 2015
Source: Globe-Gazette (Mason City, IA)
Copyright: 2015 Globe-Gazette


As we read the front-page story Monday about some parents who are 
thinking of moving to Minnesota to get medical marijuana for their 
children, it left us with a sickening feeling.

Not as sick as the kids they want to help, but angry and deeply 
disappointed that our legislators, mainly House Republicans, can't 
see what lawmakers in our neighbor to the north could - that medical 
marijuana can help better than prescription medicines.

The story, by Christinia Crippes of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, 
a sister paper of the Globe Gazette, told of Cedar Falls parents 
considering moving to Minnesota where medical marijuana will be legal 
in limited form beginning July 1.

Minnesota has approved two manufacturers and will set up eight 
dispensaries and regulate providers of cannabis oil. A health care 
practitioner must certify a patient has one of the nine qualifying 
conditions ranging from cancer to epilepsy. Raw leaf, flowers and 
edibles will not be allowed. Legal medical cannabis includes only 
pills, oil and liquid.

Sure, Iowa passed a limited medical marijuana last year. But that 
legislation is almost useless because it didn't provide any legal way 
to get the cannabidiol. This year the Iowa Senate passed an expanded 
bill but it never saw action in the GOP-controlled House.

Iowa parents are getting impatient, and rightly so.

Our heart aches for parents like Brienna Decker, whose son, Garrett, 
has severe epilepsy. She is checking with Minnesota officials to 
learn what their program has to offer.

Those who blocked the Senate-passed legislation should be ashamed. 
And we're sad to say that two of our own, House Majority Leader Linda 
Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake, and Gov. Terry Branstad, are among them. 
Upmeyer, a health practitioner, said the state should not approve the 
medical cannabis oil before the federal government. Branstad said he 
is concerned about potential unintended consequences of an expanded program.

But cannabis oil contains only trace amounts of THC, the chemical in 
marijuana that provides the "high," said Decker and Carrie Elser, 
whose daughter, Kylie, 14, has severe epilepsy.

"I wish they would understand that this is not a decision that 
parents would make lightly," Elser said. "I want to take my daughter 
off the drugs that make her sleepy and make her tired, so why would I 
want to give her something that makes her high, right?"

Look, nothing says medical marijuana is going to be the cure-all, but 
parents want and deserve a chance to try to help their kids in the 
best way possible.

Yet there are those who steadfastly, stubbornly and wrongly refuse to 
allow that possibility.

On the one hand, our state leaders say they want young families to 
locate in Iowa; on the other, they make it difficult for those with 
sick kids to consider it. And they're forcing some families to make 
perhaps the biggest moves of their lives - away from their homes and 
to a more health-friendly environment for their children.

"It's one of those things where, over time, we hope they run out of 
excuses, but at the same time we're running out of options," Decker said.

Iowans who care shouldn't allow this to happen. They should let their 
legislators and the governor know of their concerns, that approving 
medical marijuana won't create a big cloud over Iowa. Instead, it 
just could give kids something they can't get now - more relief from 
wretched illnesses.

We see absolutely no good reason to deny them of that relief when the 
means are within the grasp.

Iowa should expand its medical marijuana law at the soonest 
possibility. To do otherwise says that those who could do something 
to help our kids are playing politics or just don't give a damn. And 
that makes us sick.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom