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Families Respond to Medical Marijuana Bill

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) -- Iowa City Sen. Joe Bolkcom introduced a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state, but said the bill is already dead because of a lack of bipartisan support.

That's leaving many Iowa parents frustrated. A group of parents of epileptic children testified about the bill on Tuesday, saying children in other states have seen relief from epileptic seizures by using a medical marijuana oil.

Patricia Andrews and her daughter, Vivian, 6, found out about the decision before heading to Vivian's weekly physical therapy session in Cedar Rapids. Vivian has Aicardi Syndrome -- a diagnosis only four girls in Iowa have been given. She is missing the part of her brain that tells each side what to do, and it gives her epileptic seizures. Patricia says, medical marijuana has worked for other kids, so why can't hers?

"I don't see a reason why we couldn't try it. There's no reason not to. It's no different from trying the six other drugs that haven't worked," Patricia said.

To hear that the medical marijuana bill will fail frustrated her.

"I was highly disappointed, because it's at the point (where), what option do we have? Are we supposed to just pack up and move because the state we live in doesn't want to work with it?" she said.

Lawmakers in opposition are concerned about how the bill would be implemented, in terms of who could use marijuana and how they would be monitored.

Maria La France and her son, Quincy, went to the state house to testify on Tuesday, and thinks education is the biggest hurdle in the way.

"People who are not sick, and traditional medicines have not worked for them ... they are not criminals for trying to save their own lives," La France said. "Personally, I'm not going to wait. I'm going to take care of my son, and I'm counting on the state to recognize that I'm not a criminal."

La France said there are hundreds of families like her and Patricia's, just in Linn and Johnson counties alone. The mothers are hopeful legislators won't forget their stories next session.

A 2011 CBS News poll showed that 77 percent of adults nationwide are in favor of allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for serious illnesses, and 17 percent were opposed.

Maria La France and her son, Quincy, went to the state house to testify
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