Unlikely source calls for medical marijuana debate

DES MOINES, Iowa — A 79-year-old longtime member of the Iowa Senate who serves on several corrections-related committees is calling on lawmakers to consider legalizing medical marijuana.
Sen. Gene Fraise, a Fort Madison Democrat, acknowledges that he is an unlikely source for such legislation. Fraise said he is personally undecided on the issue but that he thinks introducing a bill will force a conversation and help lawmakers reach a consensus.
“I’ve talked to quite a few people who said members of their family were dying of cancer and they can’t get relief unless they have this marijuana,” Fraise, a 26-year veteran of the Senate, told The Associated Press on Monday. “If that’s the case, then maybe we ought to help people.”
The Iowa Board of Pharmacy in 2010 recommended state lawmakers reclassify the drug for medical use after holding a series of hearings across the state for testimony on the issue. But lawmakers have done little to act on the recommendation.
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