Speakers at Iowa hearing say they're frustrated at difficulty in obtaining marijuana extract

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Speakers at an administrative hearing on Tuesday said they're frustrated at the difficulty in obtaining a marijuana extract, despite a new law passed earlier this year.

Sally Gaer, of West Des Moines, and Kim Novy, of Altoona, made the comments after a state Department of Public Health hearing on the issue, The Des Moines Register reported (http://dmreg.co/1zAGV6B ). Both women said they have epileptic children who would benefit from the extract.

"I feel like it's still light years away," Gaer said. "We have a lot more work to do."

The law, which decriminalizes possession of a marijuana extract for patients, technically went into effect on July 1. But Gaer said it offers no legal method for growing or selling the product in the state. She also noted that lawmakers are still working on issuing registration cards to allow residents to possess extract purchased in other states.

One of those states, Colorado, only allows sales of the extract to its own residents. So Oregon may be an option when Iowa residents receive their registration cards.

"What are we all going to do, get in a wagon train and go over the mountains?" Gaer said.

Both women said the cost of using an out-of-state supplier could reach more than a $1,000 a month per month, plus the cost of travel. There's also the risk of arrest for carrying the extract through states that don't allow it, they said.

Iowa Department of Public Health administrator Deborah Thompson said during the hearing that officials hope to issue registration cards by the end of the year. She said she understood people's frustration, and added, "there are a lot of moving parts for any new program."


Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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