Medical marijuana facility proposed for Des Moines

“I have been down at the Capital for the last several years fighting for this.”

Posted: Nov 30, 2017 6:51 PM
Updated: Dec 1, 2017 7:12 AM

KIMT News 3- On Thursday, a letter of intent was given to Kemin Industries, a Des Moines-based company, from the Department of Public Health to build a medical marijuana growing facility in Des Moines.

Cassie Helland, of Mason City, says this is something she has been working to get in the state for the last several years as a way to help her 13-year-old son Caleb who has epilepsy.

“I have been down at the Capital for the last several years fighting for this,” says Helland.

She says Caleb is already approved to use a form of medical cannabis but it doesn’t have THC, a chemical found in marijuana.

“I would like him to try other types of CBD oils with THC in it, maybe low doses, to see if that would completely get rid of his seizures,” she said.

But those who would be prescribing the drug say it won’t be as easy as people think to get the drug, even if you do have a need.

“There’s probably going to be some government red tape surrounding the obtaining of the medicine,” says Dr. Charity Baker, a physician at West Fork Family Medicine.

Dr. Baker says she there are patients who can really benefit from the drug. In fact, she has prescribed forms of medical marijuana three times in the 12 years she has practiced medicine, but fears opening these facilities would allow marijuana to get in to the wrong hands.

“Do you think people would lie? I do, people lie to me in the office all of the time,” she said. “Do you think people who are getting it like that would sell it to other people? Absolutely. So you can see how if it is so easily accessible it could get in to the wrong hands. You can see how that would happen and happen very quickly. I surely believe that would happen to an overwhelming number of the patients seeking the drug.”

As for Cassie, she says Caleb’s smile is all she wants to see.

“He’s happy, he is always happy,” she said. “Everybody is always saying how he has such a great smile and a great attitude through everything,” Helland says.

The Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Advisory Board will vote on the proposal on Friday.

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