COUNCIL BLUFFS — The Council Bluffs City Council voted 5-0 on Monday to lend its support to bringing a medical marijuana dispensary to the city.
The vote was a symbolic one because Mayor Matt Walsh has said he wouldn’t support bringing a dispensary to the city and the final decision rests with the Iowa Department of Health.
“It’ll benefit the community, with the health benefits,” said Councilman Roger Sandau, who put the resolution on the agenda.
The state plans to award up to five medical marijuana licenses by April 1. It has received 21 applications. A city’s political support isn’t essential for the state to select a community .
The dispensaries must be operating by Dec. 1.
A recent change in Iowa allows the sale of cannabidiol to treat severe forms of certain ailments including cancer, multiple sclerosis, seizures, AIDS/HIV, Crohn’s disease and ALS. The marijuana will be dispensed as an oil and contains 3 percent or less THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Some in the crowd Monday spoke of the curative effects of CBD products, while others called marijuana a “gateway” drug that shouldn’t be so accessible.
Police Chief Tim Carmody said he supports helping people in pain. He expressed concern about abuse, noting that the law doesn’t require documentation of a malady from the physicians approving the cards.
States that have enacted medical marijuana laws have gone on to approve recreational use, Carmody said, adding that’s something he would prefer not to see.
Dispensaries must be cash-only because marijuana is banned at the federal level, and Carmody said that raises the prospect of violent robberies.
Carmody talked about marijuana-related crimes of the last few years, and noted that dispensaries are cashed-based businesses with lots of product that could be the target of robberies.
“Multiple homicides as a