Iowans 4 Medical Cannabis hosts conference, calls question to presidential candidates

The legislative and populist updates on medical cannabis keep springing from public interest and patient need. Today, an update to the multimedia report here.

Iowans 4 Medical Cannabis is hosting a conference Oct. 31 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. in Des Moines, Iowa at the Mickle Center, 1620 Pleasant Street. The organization suggests a $25 donation, but no one will be turned away.

Created by Amy H. Peterson in Piktochart
Created by Amy H. Peterson in Piktochart

The missing piece, according to the group, is petitioning the federal government to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule 2 substance from its current Schedule 1 classification. 
One step already in progress is a questionnaire sent to all candidates for the U.S. presidency. The questions include:

1) Acknowledging the vast body of research showing medical value of cannabis, and acknowledging cannabis has been studied more than any other FDA-approved drug, do you feel cannabis is treated unfairly remaining illegal for conditions such as Cancer, MS, Epilepsy and more?

2) What is your proposed federal policy on medical cannabis and re-scheduling?

3) What is your proposed Federal policy for removing criminal penalties for people who are trying to treat their illnesses with medical cannabis, risking criminalization, loss of assets, and interstate violations?
4) Do you support the CARERS Act? Why or why not?

Because Iowa is an early battleground state for the contested party nominations for all parties next year, Iowans 4 Medical Cannabis introduced the questionnaire. “The states that have medical cannabis programs in place account for about three-fourths of the nation’s population, yet it is still illegal federally.” The advocacy organization asks candidates how they intend to fix the problem.

Seventy to 87 percent of Americans want access to medical cannabis. Iowans 4 Medical Cannabis asks candidates to distinguish between medical cannabis and recreational use, because they are two separate issues. 

Lori Tassin of Des Moines explains it this way: “As a cancer survivor, I want every treatment possible available and legal that might save or prolong life.” 

Representatives of Iowans for Medical Cannabis point out if presidential candidates oppose federal legalization of medical cannabis, “they are going against the wishes of 80 percent of Americans.”

Iowans 4 Medical Cannabis is a coalition of individuals and organization in favor of a safe and controlled medical cannabis program for qualifying debilitating health conditions. We are not associated with recreational use in any way. To date, members of our coalition include the Epilepsy Foundation of North/Central, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, the National MS Society, the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa, Community HIV Alliance, and the Easter Seals of Iowa. 

The Stanley brothers deliver a Realm of Caring.

Five Colorado brothers, Jon, Jordan, Joel, Jesse and Jared began breeding strains of the  cannabis sativa plant in 2009 to contain higher concentrations of CBD with lower concentrations of THC (the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis).

Their efforts gave rise to the Realm of Caring company. They’re not just breeders, growers, manufacturers or distributors — the Realm of Caring provides help with access and support for patients with intractable epilepsy, Dravet’s syndrome, and other serious conditions, as well as the parents of children who suffer with these ailments.

Many neurological illnesses are not successfully treated by pharmaceuticals and traditional medicine. Intractable seizures are so life-quality limiting and debilitating, patients become desperate for any relief.

Cannabidioil is often the answer to the problem of brain diseases and disorders. Charlotte’s Web cannabis oil is carefully cultivated,

lovingly produced under the best scientific conditions, and distributed to as many patients in need as possible.

Medical cannabis legal in Iowa — but not

iowa cannabis

This is the conflict. It’s a battle between patients with intractable disease, and in the case of children, their parents, and legislators who don’t want to be reckless.

We’ve told the story of so many patients in Iowa, and especially children who have intractable epilepsy and other conditions, and they’re at odds with legislators who sympathize with the conditions, or so they say, but they can’t find it in their conscience to make the legislation. But they cannot just say no in the face of their suffering constituents. So what to do?

Pass a bandaid solution. That is what the Iowa Medical Cannabis Act really is. According to Iowa Senator Bill Dotzler, what patients are finding is that they cannot find a catalyst for getting medical cannabis in their hands. The cannabis cards made possible by the passage of the Act have not made cannabidiol more accessible to them because right now no one in Iowa can grow the cannabis sativa plant, and no one can bring in marijuana products or hemp products to Iowa.

Hemp, as we reported last week, was legal and used for a variety of purposes. It was the major medicinal ingredient used in the U.S. before it was outlawed. Dr. Donald Abrams of Stanford University attempted to test cannabidiol for its effectiveness in countering the body wasting of patients with AIDS, but his research was blocked by governing authorities. Meanwhile there are patients who cannot wait.

When the brain has endured a number of seizures, brain cells are broken down and you cannot get them back, according to the Mayo Clinic. 

This is what Jennifer knows: the cannabis from CW Botanicals that Liam is taking — it’s helping him. He’s found relief from seizures. Harli from Fonda, Iowa — it’s helped her be self-determining in her own life. This is anecdotal evidence, as parents like Jennifer find a way, researchers suspect the evidence will grow into a collection of data.

The data will convince the people who need to be convinced the most — the legislators standing in the way of patients getting the relief they need.

The other element to this, of course, is big pharmaceutical money. Is the strong possibility that the pharmaceutical industry will lose money if cannabis is legalized a factor in the slowness to effective legislation?

Two medical cannabis experts in social media

The issue with medical cannabis is that the evidence of its effectiveness is anecdotal. This creates controversy in which lawmakers seem to put their fear of a patient getting high (nearly impossible with trace amounts of THC in medical strains) above relieving pain, seizures, tremors, mental illness, and other debilitating disorders.

Two international experts emerge from divergent corners to add to the base of data about the effects of medical marijuana on serious illnesses.

The first is Kyle Kushman. Kushman, a former editor of High Times Magazine is now host of The Grow Show and has spent the last two decades perfecting the cultivation of cannabis for both recreational and medicinal use. His current focus is on making medical cannabis available to patients.

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There were no mentions of Kushman on LinkedIn, but he does have a  profile.

On Google+, Kushman promotes news and videos about medical cannabis, including this one about the Cannabusiness summit.

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On Facebook, Kushman’s presence is expanding as he also promotes his show.

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Medical cannabis — real access for patients is slow in Iowa.

Created in Piktochart by Amy H. Peterson
Created in Piktochart by Amy H. Peterson

It’s a sunny Saturday morning. You’re at home in your sweats flipping pancakes as part of a leisurely breakfast. The popping, perky playlist is on, and your two-year old is in a booster seat, using her kid-sized spoon as a drumstick on the table keeping the beat. The dog is underfoot, there’s no pressing errand to be done today. It’s a play day. Suddenly the drumming on the table slows and the banging sounds come from the booster chair. Your child’s entire body is stiff and shaking, her eyes are rolled back into her head, and the guttural sounds from her mouth can only be described as frightening. You leave the pancakes and rush to her. You unbuckle her from the chair and slowly bring her to the floor, keeping an arm under her head and the back of her knees so she doesn’t harm herself. After doctor visits, imaging, tests, and pokes and probes, the report comes back: intractable seizure disorder. The seizures happen as much as ten times per day. This is your life now.

This is reality to parents across the nation; Iowa is no exception. For the last ten years, Shelby Heuck has experienced daily seizures, and complications from the strong anticonvulsant medications prescribed by doctors all over the Midwest. Her parents have appealed to the Iowa legislature, and progress has been slow. In 2014, Iowa passed a law that made it legal for patients or the parents of minor children with intractable epilepsy to possess small doses of medical cannabis. However, no one in Iowa can produce it, and it’s illegal to transport it across state lines.

In 2015, the legislature considered expanding access to medical marijuana. Real access may come to late for Shelby, according to her parents.

According to the National Epilepsy Foundation, 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime. This translates to 12 million people alive today. They have developed the hashtag #1in26 to raise awareness.