The Iowa Legislature passed a bill legalizing the use of a form of marijuana oil to treat chronic epilepsy. The measure passed the House 75-20 and the Senate 38-8 at about 4:30 a.m. Thursday as lawmakers pushed toward adjournment.
The bill allows the medical use of oil derived from the cannabis plant as a last-resort treatment for seizures caused by a chronic form of epilepsy. The oil cannot be smoked and doesn't create a high. It would have to be obtained in another state that produces it.
A written recommendation from a neurologist is required. Patients and caregivers must acquire a registration card from Iowa's Department of Public Health.
Mothers of children with epilepsy lobbied lawmakers and are credited with changing minds of many. The bill now goes to Gov. Terry Branstad.
After working all night to finish the 2014 legislative session, the Senate must return for one more day after a dispute developed involving subpoena powers. Senate Democrats intend to pass a resolution granting subpoena power to the Senate oversight committee, but Republicans are resisting. The panel has been looking into allegations involving payments given to fired state employees and other matters.
The House adjourned just before 6 a.m. Thursday, but senators remained to pass the resolution, which lets the oversight committee to subpoena witnesses and put them under oath to testify. Because Republicans object to the plan, a Senate rule prevents the resolution from being debated Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs adjourned the session until 8 a.m. Friday when a vote will be held and the session adjourned.