Branstad ‘very likely’ to sign cannabis oil bill

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said it is “very likely” that he will sign a bill to allow the use of cannabis oil to treat those with chronic epilepsy.

At a town hall meeting held in Webster City on Thursday morning, Branstad heard from a local woman, Tiffany Hoffmann, whose daughter has daily seizures, sometimes more often. She urged Branstad to sign the bill. He said that while he doesn’t have the bill yet, he is likely to sign it once he does.

“I always reserve judgment until we see it in its final form, but I think it’s very likely that we will and I really hope that it does make a difference for your daughter and the other kids,” Branstad said.

Branstad said he had spoken to other mothers of children with epilepsy at his office. He had also discussed the bill with Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley as their states have passed similar laws.

Branstad said some states, such as California, do not have adequate controls in place to prevent recreational drug users from accessing medical marijuana. The bill passed by the legislature provides a way to avoid that access, according to Branstad. The bill requires a neurologist’s recommendation to legally obtain cannabis oil. The oil also won’t be produced or distributed in Iowa.

As he considers signing the bill, Branstad said he’s mindful of the struggles of those with chronic epilepsy.

“If you have a life-threatening illness, people will do just about anything to try and help,” Branstad said.

Within the next several weeks, Branstad said he will likely sign the bill. If signed, the law would take effect July 1.