DES MOINES, Iowa - The media got a look at the first medical cannabis growing facility in the state of Iowa on Thursday. It was something those heading the project say is a historic event for the state of Iowa.
“Being able to do something for the first time that’s going to end up helping people is very rewarding,” said Nick Tabockhorst, of Kemin Industries.
Tabockhorst helped design the four-stage process where more than 250 plants would be growing at a time.
Kemin Industries is the lead consultant of MedPharm Iowa. It said around 6,000 people throughout out the state have one of the nine qualified conditions to have access to the drug: ALS, Cancer, Crohan’s Disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Terminal Illness with a life expectancy of less than a year and untreatable pain.
But they are going to need double that if they want to have a successful business. That is why they are educating the public.
“The cannabis industry has a bad rap,” said Tabockhorst. “People are growing it to get high, they’re growing it in their basement, that’s not what we’re trying to accomplish.”
But education is only the first step. While MedPharm looks to start growing plants in the next couple of weeks to meet the December 1 deadline to have product at the five dispensary locations, it is hoping to encourage legislators to vote on changes to who can buy the product. One of those changes is to the term “untreatable pain.”
“The untreatable pain definition is very cumbersome,” said Lucas Nelson with Kemin Industries. “It leaves a lot of physicians questioning whether the patient has met the definition.”
They also want lawmakers to look at getting rid of the 3 percent THC cap that is in place. Prevention specialists say THC is the addictive chemical in cannabis. Nelson said people who help need more than the 3 percent cap.
“Those who need high percentages are still allowed to buy it, it is just going to come as an out-of-pocket expense,” he said. “It will be more costly to those patients to be able to obtain the amount they need as well as require them to take more of the pills.”
Phase one of the project is expected to be complete in 1-3 weeks. They will start the growing process at that time and said phase two will be complete around the time the plants need to move in to that location.
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