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Bruce Bearinger

More Iowans with severe health problems and chronic pain could have had access to medicine that would improve their lives after a bi-partisan bill to expand the state’s medical cannabis law was approved.

However, Governor Kim Reynolds unexpectedly vetoed the expansion at the last minute due to concerns over increasing the THC limit. [THC is tetrahydrocannabinol, a crystalline compound that is the main active ingredient in cannabis.] The bill, passed during the 2019 legislative session, would have eliminated the current 3 percent THC cap by replacing it with a 25-gram over 90-day period maximum disbursement. The measure passed 96-3 in the GOP controlled House and 40-7 in the GOP controlled Senate.

Democratic lawmakers are working this month to call for a special session to override the Governor’s veto. Two-thirds of lawmakers in each chamber are needed to request a special legislative session.

Currently, Iowa is one of the lowest THC states in the country. Thirty-three other states have no limits on medical cannabis products, which have helped address opioid addiction and chronic ailment costs.

In a poll released earlier this year, nearly 80 percent of Iowans support expanding access to the state’s medical cannabidiol program, according to the Des Moines Register.

SAVE School Infrastructure Bill Signed into Law

A top priority of school leaders across Iowa for several years, the “SAVE” bill to extend the one cent local sales tax for school infrastructure was signed by the Governor.

The program will continue to provide funds for school infrastructure improvements, as well as increasing a portion of the funds for property tax relief. A separate Career Academy competitive grant fund is established to help build job-training facilities.

More transparency is provided in the plan by allowing voters to reapprove the district’s revenue purpose statement. If SAVE funds are going to be obligated for 20-year bonds, school boards must hold a public hearing and give citizens an opportunity to petition for a direct vote of the people.

The program is now extended through 2051, instead of having it expire in 2031.

Read more statehouse news at online.