DES MOINES, Iowa — Sally Gaer of West Des Moines is a medical marijuana advocate because of the lifelong struggle her daughter Margaret has faced and the ways medical pot has helped.
“She has intractable epilepsy,” said Gaer, referring to her to daughter’s Dravet syndrome. “So she’s had seizures for 28 years.”
Gaer says the process for getting a registration card in Iowa in order to access medical marijuana is too cumbersome.
“To have to take that other step and go to the DOT and get your picture taken and wait in line like everybody else at the driver’s license station, you know, it’s kind of a burden for people with MS and cancer and, you know, some of the new qualifying conditions,” she said.
Those conditions currently include cancer (with severe or chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, cachexia or severe wasting); multiple sclerosis with severe and persistent muscle spasms; seizures; AIDS or HIV (as defined in section 141A.1); Crohn’s disease; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); any terminal illness with a probable life expectancy of under one year (if the illness or its treatment produces is one or more of the following: severe or chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting; cachexia or severe wasting); Parkinson’s disease; and untreatable pain.
If you want to obtain a patient registration card, you have to download an application from the Department of Public Health’s website, take that application to your doctor, and ask your doctor to certify that you have been diagnosed with one of the debilitating medical conditions authorized in the statute. After receiving a doctor’s certification, you submit the application to the health department, along with the required fee. If approved, you would be notified and would then need to go to a DOT location.
“Generally, we’ve already got a customer record for them,” said Mark Lowe, Iowa DOT Director. “And then when they come in, we go ahead and we update anything on their driver’s license or ID that needs to be changed. So if their name changed, if their address changed, that kind of thing, we update that. And then we just take their photo, like we would for a normal driver’s license or ID card, and we issue the cannabidiol card to them.”