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Iowa residents overwhelmingly support the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, but do not admit recreational use, according to a new Iowa survey.
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Illustration of medical marijuana. (Photo: Mark Marturello / The Register) Buy photo

A new Des Moines company is expected to become the first legal producer of medical marijuana products in Iowa.

The Department of Iowa Public Health announced on Tuesday that intends to issue a license to MedPharm Iowa, which would produce drugs derived from cannabis plants. Department spokeswoman Polly Carver-Kimm said MedPharm's permit is expected to be the only production license issued by the state under a new law that allows the production and distribution of medical marijuana products in Iowa.

MedPharm Iowa is owned by Chris Nelson, who is the president of Kemin Industries. Kemin is a great company that produces food ingredients and supplements that it sends around the world.

"With the creation of MedPharm Iowa, we will use our innovative experience and experience with scientifically sound research to help those who deal with chronic pain, cancer, debilitating diseases and possibly help alleviate the opioid epidemic in Iowa," said Nelson. in a press release. The company plans to establish a production and manufacturing facility for medicinal cannabis products on the Kemin campus south of downtown Des Moines. Under state law, you must begin providing products by December 1, 2018.

The health department would then approve permits for distributors of products manufactured by MedPharm Iowa. The new company is badociated with MedPharm Colorado, which It specializes in such products.

Iowa's new medical marijuana law strictly limits what types of marijuana-derived products could be manufactured and sold. The law prohibits products that could be smoked or eaten. It also bans products with more than 3 percent THC, the chemical that makes recreational marijuana users grow.

Iowa's previous medical marijuana law only allowed the possession of an oil derived from marijuana for use by people with severe forms of epilepsy. The new law allows the possession of marijuana products approved by patients diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, seizures, AIDS or HIV, Crohn's disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, as well as most terminal illnesses that involve pain not treatable and a life expectancy of less than a year.

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