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Medical Marijuana Bill Gains Momentum in Statehouse

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  A bill allowing Iowans to use medical marijuana in the form of cannabis oil is still alive at the statehouse. The Iowa Senate will move a medical marijuana bill before the end of the session.  

On Monday, Governor Branstad gave his first indication that he would be open to signing a limited medical marijuana bill into law this legislative session. Branstad said he’s interested in legislation that does not legalize medical cannabis, but rather keeps those who need it for health reasons from being prosecuted.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal said he appreciates signals from the Governor’s office. Gronstal says mothers of children with epilepsy have relentlessly approached lawmakers about medicine that could help their kids.  

“Nothing to smoke. But cannabis oil can dramatically impact the health and welfare of their children and they have made a compelling case to legislators and that’s why this issue still has life,” Gronstal said.

Gronstal said it’s a priority for him before the session ends. He says the governor has not approached him on the topic. Earlier in the week Branstad didn’t rule out a bill on cannabis oil before the legislature adjourns. 

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter.