- Associated Press - Friday, May 23, 2014

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said Friday he will sign a bill legalizing the use of oil derived from marijuana to treat chronic epilepsy but hasn’t made a decision on legislation that could change the scope of greyhound racing in the state.

Speaking on the public television program “Iowa Press,” Branstad promised to sign the marijuana bill next week.

The legislation requires patients with chronic epilepsy and their caregivers to acquire a registration card through Iowa’s Department of Public Health, per a written recommendation from a neurologist. The oil would have to be obtained in another state that produces it. The bill limits the amount of oil that can be in a patient or caregiver’s possession at any given time.

Branstad said he supports the measure because of its narrow focus and applicability to a small number of people in need. He said families with children suffering from severe epileptic seizures convinced him of the bill’s importance and that he believes the oil can help them.

However, Branstad warned against “unintended consequences” that the bill’s passage might bring and said he intends to maintain only this limited use of medical marijuana use in the state.

“I think it would be a mistake to look at now expanding it to a whole bunch of other things,” Branstad said after the taping. “I think we need to look at this as a very careful experiment that we and other states like Utah and Alabama are doing and see if it really does have the efficacy that the families hope that it has.”

He said he’s still considering legislation to end greyhound racing at a track in Council Bluffs but allow it to continue in Dubuque. His concern there, he said, is that the legislation leaves out the horse industry.

Branstad signed two bills Friday to regulate the use of unmanned aerial drones and ban the sale and use of e-cigarettes for minors.

He plans to sign his Home Base Iowa initiative on Memorial Day. The measure offers tax and job incentives to make Iowa more attractive for veterans.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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