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Parents Hope For Legal Production, Sale Of Cannabis Oil In Iowa

The General

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A new law makes it legal for qualifying patients to possess and use cannabis oil, but it does not allow in-state production or sales of the oil. Some Iowans who are looking to legally obtain cannabis oil from out of the state are facing roadblocks, and it's affecting the way their children live and breathe. Kim and Matt Novy of Altoona have twin 12-year-old daughters who require constant supervision.

"They can never be left alone, ever. So we are always on edge, always on, ready to go," Kim said. Lindsey and Lauren both have Dravet Syndrome, which is a rare form of intractable epilepsy. Oxygen is always within reach to be ready for when big seizures take hold of the girls. Lauren also deals with what her mom calls a cluster of small eyelid seizures, where her hands constantly shake. These episodes happen over and over, with no way to make them stop. Karen Sales of Ankeny lost count of her 11-year-old son William's seizures. She lives in constant fear of his next big one.

"Every night you go to bed wondering, praying, 'please don't let this be the night,'" she said. It's hard for most parents to imagine living this way, but the parents of Kaden Homolka, of Guthrie, Center don't need to use their imagination. Kaden has had seizures his entire life. His parents think the constant rotation of anti-seizure drugs and their side-effects is what has led their son to the diagnoses of ADHD, a myriad of developmental disabilities and a severe sleep disorder.

"Like I told the neurologist, sometimes I wonder if it's best to him to have a seizure over the medicine, and see what happens," said Megan Homolka, mother of Kaden. All three families expect to qualify for Iowa's limited medical marijuana program that applies to patients with intractable epilepsy. They want their children on cannabis oil as soon as possible because they hear success stories like 3-year-old Braedy Grittman of Tama. KCCI first met Braedy at his home in Tama in January. Braedy can't talk nor crawl as his body is ravaged by grand mal seizures, having anywhere from one to ten a day.

Braedy's parents moved to Colorado earlier in April in order to establish residency to become eligible for the state's medical marijuana program. Braedy's parents said that just after three weeks on cannabis oil he was down to one seizure every few days. Braedy was stronger, tracking with his eyes and even smiling occasionally. His parents announced on July 4 that Braedy had gone the entire month of June, without a single seizure.

Braedy's family hopes to come home soon, but won't until they know they can get the cannabis oil into Iowa legally. "We're really putting people in a really difficult position to break the law essentially to meet the health care needs of their loved ones," Sen. Joe Bolkcom, of Iowa City, said. Bolkcom said other states with medical marijuana programs have production of the medical cannabis within the state, and Iowa's law needs to follow suit next year.

"While it may be a challenge to get people's minds around that, it's absolutely where we have to be. We have to be able to produce that medicine here in Iowa for Iowans to have the benefit of it," Bolkom said. Marijuana is illegal at the federal level, and even an Iowa marijuana registration card will not provide legal protection for the oil to be mailed or transported by plane.

Driving back and forth from states that have reciprocity, where Iowans wouldn't have to be residents to buy cannabis oil is asking parents to navigate a myriad of obstacles. The biggest of which is the possibility of getting arrested in a state where cannabis oil is not legal. "Don't say you can have it, but then you can't get it," said Brad Homolka, Kaden's dad. "It's pretty much what we looked at is driving across Nebraska and hopefully not getting pulled over," he said. The battle continues next legislative session. Proponents have said they will focus on making more medical conditions like cancer and AIDS eligible for the program. As Bolkcom said, they will also push for production of marijuana in Iowa, a step that will certainly be the focus of intense debate.


News Moderator - The General @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Kcci.com
Author: Mark Tauscheck
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Website: Parents hope for legal production, sale of cannabis oil in Iowa | Local News - KCCI Home
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