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Medicine in the Making: Medical cannabis coming to Iowa

Last year, state legislators made medical cannabis in Iowa a reality. Though the bill has been signed into law, implementing it within the state still presents obstacles.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has labeled marijuana a Schedule 1 drug. That means scientists cannot perform proper research on humans that medical professionals rely on to gauge its effectiveness.

Also under current Iowa law, legislators decide what ailments qualify and what dosage is allowed. 

Diagnosed at 12 years old, Coltyn Turner's family moved from Ilinois to Colorado as a last resort to get him treatment through medical cannabis. Coltyn suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Crohn's Disease. 

The transformation was almost immediate. And miraculous. 

"The first time I saw him out of his wheelchair ... he had walked up the hill and he was standing there while I pulled up and ... it was hard. It was awesome," said Wendy Turner, Coltyn's mom. 

Crohn's Disease is one of the many eligible ailments on the list in Iowa—along with Parkinson's Disease, multiple sclerosis, seizures, AIDS or HIV, ALS, as well as most terminal illnesses tha involve a life expectancy of less than one year and untreatable pain. 

Medicine Man, a multi-million dollar dispensary, has three locations in Colorado. Local 5 got an exclusive tour of their Denver location, where patrons can find both recreational and medicinal marijuana. 

Sally Vander Veer owns the company, which includes a 40,000 square foot growing facility. 

"When I heard about medical marijuana before we got into the business, I thought it was people's excuse as to how they could use marijuana legally," Vander Veer said. "I very quickly learned how wrong I was." 

A different type of growing facility that Local 5 toured, MedPharm Colorado, will be what Iowa is modeled after.

There, once the plant is dried, cannabanoids are extracted using a similar process to how decaf coffee is made. After a purification and testing process, you get the final result: Patches, oils, and other therapeutic products. 

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