Iowa Families Still Unable To Access Cannabis Oil, Despite New Law

Despite Iowa lawmakers passing a limited law for medical cannabis last session, Iowa families affected by the issue are calling for stronger measures. They want the law expanded so they can legally access the drug in Siouxland communities.

Garrett Goodell's family isn't looking for recreational marijuana and they're not lobbying for Iowa to end up like Colorado. They're fighting for medical cannabis that could help three-year-old Garrett's seizures and a law that would let them get it for him right here in Iowa.

Meet Garrett Goodell. Like other three-year-olds, Garrett loves his dog, Duchess, and singing the day away with the Frozen soundtrack. But along with being born with Saethre Choetzen Syndrome, Garrett also has intractable epilepsy, so he's prone to seizures. He's one of the Iowans that qualifies under the state's new law, to carry a card allowing his parents to have cannabis oil for him.  But Garrett's grandmother Jeri, a Registered Nurse and now medical cannabis advocate, says they just get the medication for him.

"The patients can't get it. Garrett, with intractable epilepsy, the purpose of the bill.. it's impossible to get it," said Jeri Goodell, Medical Cannabis Advocate and Garrett's grandmother.

In Iowa, it's still illegal to produce, manufacture or distribute medical cannabis. The new bill allows those who qualify to have a card, allowing them to travel to states like Colorado, and pick up the cannabis oil
they need. The only problem? You can't have it while driving through other states, like Nebraska, where it's still illegal. 

So those in need of the oil and are allowed to have it still can't legally access it.

"But the thing is, there is no cannabis medication of any kind available in Iowa. So the bill is useless at this time," Goodell said.

Goodell and the rest of the family, including Garrett's mom, Tobi, and dad, Tim, are fighting with other families from here in Siouxland and around the state to get lawmakers to expand the bill. They say they want the bill expanded so they can get the cannabis oil, or CBD, they need here in Iowa. But she says, like last year, it likely won't be easy.

"I think it's going to be a battle. That a lot of people are going to work hard to get the medication for the people in Iowa who need it," Goodell said.

She says she, like many others supporting medical cannabis, does not support legalizing recreational marijuana use.  She just wants to help Garrett and others like him.

"It's not about getting high. It's about getting help for people who need the medication," Goodell said.

For more about Garrett and his family, or others like him around Iowa, check out the Sprig Facebook page here.


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