Legislate session ends, med marijuana bill passes

Everything was finished by 7:30 a.m. Saturday

UPDATE: After suspending the rules and staying overnight at the statehouse, both chambers have passed a version of the medical marijuana bill at the statehouse.

The House sent over the revised bill at about 6:15 a.m. Saturday, and then the Senate passed it after an hour of discussion.

The revised medical marijuana bill is a slightly watered-down version of the one the Senate passed earlier this week. It includes a similar list of conditions, but reduces the THC level in medical marijuana to three percent.

The bill is now on the governor's desk.

The session adjourned at about 7:15 a.m.


STATEHOUSE - Lawmakers worked late into the night at the Statehouse Friday, as the 2017 legislative session is set to wrap up.

As of 10:45 p.m. Friday, members of the Iowa House of Representatives did not start debate on the few bills they have remaining, which include medical marijuana and water quality.

A big focus is the medical marijuana legislation that would allow medical cannabis to be grown and sold in Iowa. House Republicans caucused all day Friday, trying to work through the bill behind closed doors. They took a break around 6:00 p.m., but as of 10:45 p.m. did not return, even though the recess was supposed to end at 7:00 p.m.


One of the big points of contention between Democrats and Republicans is what medical conditions the bill covers. Earlier this week, the Iowa Senate passed a version of the bill that expands the number of qualifying conditions to more than 12. But House Republicans say that is way too much.


“The Senate bill is a piece of crap at best, in my opinion," said Republican Rep. Clel Baudler or Greenfield. "No way in hell would we ever address that. It had no limit on THC. I do not know what they were thinking when they sent that over here. It’s dead."

House Republicans are not happy with the Senate bill, which is why they spent several hours this week - and especially on Friday - trying to come up with one they think is better. Republican lawmakers told Local 5 Friday evening that the House version covers only around seven or eight illnesses. And House Democrats do not think that is enough.

“The bill that was put forth by the Republicans I don’t think was expansive at all," said Democratic Rep. Bruce Hunter of Des Moines. "I think it was another one of those bills like we did a couple years ago, which doesn’t help too many people and just kind of allows us to pat ourselves on the back and say we did something. I think the bill that the Senate put out is a lot more expansive and would help a lot more people in the state of Iowa.”

Current Iowa law allows Iowans to use cannabis oil to treat epilepsy, but they have to get it from a different state. That law expires this summer.

Again, time is ticking for legislators to get a new bill through. Lawmakers have told Local 5 that they are are close to coming to a compromise on the medical marijuana legislation, after spending hours talking about it on Friday. Lawmakers say they plan to debate and pass it late Friday night.


Legislators also tell Local 5 that another big bill regarding water quality in the State of Iowa is holding up the medical marijuana bill from being discussed on the floor, as of 10:45 p.m. Friday night. Lawmakers are working on a compromise on that bill as well.


Stay with Local 5 as debates continue and the session wraps up.

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