- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Senate Democrats are seeking to expand access to medical marijuana in Iowa so people with chronic illnesses could get the drug at a state-run facility.

At a press conference Tuesday, Democrats discussed recently introduced legislation. It would make medical marijuana available to people with a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Those approved by a doctor would then purchase marijuana products produced in Iowa at state-run dispensaries.

Last year, the Legislature approved a law that allows some residents with epilepsy to use oil with an ingredient derived from marijuana for treatment. But the law did not establish an in-state program for the production and distribution of the oil.

The bill will face challenges in the Republican-controlled House, where lawmakers have expressed reluctance to expand access.

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