Advocates hope for broader medical marijuana law

A narrowly focused medical marijuana law just took effect in Iowa, but advocates are already hoping they can expand access to the drug for the chronically ill.

State lawmakers this year approved legislation allowing the use of oil derived from marijuana to treat chronic epilepsy. The law was driven largely by mothers of children with epilepsy. It lays out strict criteria, including acquiring a registration card through the state and buying the oil in another state that produces it.

State Sen. Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, says he hopes this bill is a first step toward a more comprehensive medical marijuana law. He hopes to get bipartisan support for legislation in 2015.

A spokesman for Gov. Terry Branstad says Iowa should be cautious about expanding the law.