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The Iowa Behavioral Health Association is the statewide association and leading voice for substance use disorder and mental health treatment and prevention. We take this goal and our work seriously and as such we thank Gov. Kim Reynolds for taking the advice of her Medical Cannabidiol Advisory Board and vetoing HF732 relating to medical cannabidiol (CBD).

IBHA understands there is a place and potentially a need for medical CBD within our state, and we appreciate the Legislature for setting up the framework to regulate this program. Additionally, we truly sympathize with those seeking comfort from incurable illnesses and untreatable pain as well as those looking for an alternative to conventional opioid uses.

But as addiction professionals who work with thousands of Iowans afflicted with substance use disorders daily, we simply could not support the elevated levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the Legislature proposed in this bill. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that gets people high and the element that leads to so many Iowans developing a marijuana use disorder.

A 20 mg dose of THC is well into the range considered psychoactive, and this legislation would have allowed someone to consume over 277 mg of THC per day on average via the proposed 25 grams per 90-days limit.

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We are supportive of the recommendations of the Medical Cannabidiol Advisory Board that would:

  • Add physician assistants and advanced registered nurse practitioners to the list of health care practitioners eligible to certify participants.
  • Remove felony conviction as a disqualifier. as we believe all individuals deserve access to treatment.
  • Allow pharmacists and pharmacy techs to be employed at the dispensaries.
  • Require the Department of Public Health to collect and evaluate data on patient outcomes for the purpose of evaluating Iowa’s medical cannabidiol program.

Most importantly, we can support the change of the 3% THC cap to a more reasonable 4.5g every 90 days for adults and a restriction for pediatric patients to products with a 20:1 ratio of CBD to THC, as well as dosage based upon their weight.

There is much work that still needs to be done to make sure Iowa’s medical CBD program both protects the health of Iowans and offers an alternative option to those in dire need. We look forward to continuing to work with the advisory board, the Department of Public Health, the Legislature and the governor’s office to help balance out these solutions.

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Flora A. Schmidt serves as the executive director for the Iowa Behavioral Health Association with a primary role to provide strategic leadership and operational management to the organization consistent with its mission and vision “Better Behavioral Health through Education, Prevention, Treatment & Advocacy.”

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