Proponents fought quite a battle to get marijuana oil legalized for medical use in Iowa. We pray that they’ll find some success in use of the oil.

But wait, it’s not that simple: There still are roadblocks, they say, because the state has not finalized implementation of rules for the new law, so families can’t buy it yet legally. And when it does become available, they’ll still have to get it from a state where it is made legally.

Sally Gaer of West Des Moines, whose 24-year-old daughter has severe epilepsy, is disappointed.

“We have a hard enough life,” she says. “In my mind it’s yeah, you can possess it, but good luck getting it.”

We’re not sure what the holdup us but we urge the state to speed up the process to those in need can get relief that the medicine is proven to provide. And like Gaer, we’d like to see the law expanded in scope.

Iowa is among 11 states with restrictive laws while 23 states and the District of Columbia have public medical marijuana laws. Evidence is clear that marijuana helps treat symptoms of not only epilepsy but illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

Sen. Joe Bolkcom, an Iowa City Democrat, is among those leading the push for more comprehensive medical marijuana laws. He said he hopes to get bipartisan support for his legislation next year. We hope so, too, but there are detractors who might be hard to convince.

Gov. Terry Branstad says Iowa must be cautious about expanding the law. Rep. Walt Rogers, Republican from Cedar Falls, says he isn’t in favor of expanding the law, fearing even the more restrictive law sends the wrong message to teenagers about drug use and that marijuana could be legalized totally. It seems many legislators are afraid to take medical marijuana any further.

However, a poll taken last spring by Quinnipiac University shows 81 percent of Iowa’s registered voters supports legalized medical marijuana for adults if prescribed by a doctor. Those numbers would be significant if they would carry over to the voting booth.

"Members that supported the effort have gotten a lot of positive feedback from Iowans about this. People are more informed about it because of this year," Bolkcom said.

Unfortunately, some people will continue to close their minds to medical marijuana because it’s a controlled substance. That’s unfortunate.

Evidence is solidly in the corner of the benefits of medical marijuana in easing symptoms of some our devastating diseases. Denying that relief seems cruel.

We hope Bolkcom succeeds in his efforts to get lawmakers to take a look at his medical marijuana plan. We’ll join the many people who could be helped in the lobbying effort.

Fighting their diseases is tough enough; providing a way to ease the side effects of that treatment seems like the compassionate thing to do. Legislators should give it serious consideration in the coming session.


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