Ryan McDermott wiggles on the living room floor as he flips onto his back.

The Davenport boy suffers an endless assault of seizures that have rendered his 7-year-old body nearly paralyzed.

Wearing a plaid shirt, jeans and sneakers, he looks up at his mother, Tina McDermott, and gives her a big smile, as if to say “I love you.” He can’t communicate it with words.

Her eyes sad, she rests her chin in her palm, her elbow pressing on her jeans.

“I know he’s in there,” she said.

On her arm is a rubber bracelet that says “Pediatric Cannabis Therapy” even though she’s never used marijuana.

She’s eager to explore marijuana, which Iowa outlaws for any use, because she suspects the side effects of Ryan’s prescription pills may be aggravating his condition.

McDermott shared her story with the Quad-City Times, along with other parents with children suffering severe forms of epilepsy. The Times also found veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder and people suffering other diseases like multiple sclerosis and bipolar disorder.

They’re the faces of Iowa supporting the legalization of medical marijuana in 20 states, including Illinois, which is formulating its dispensary system now.

Some Iowans who spoke with the Times admitted they’re using marijuana illegally because they think they have no other option.

Logan Edwards, a retired U.S. Marine living in Davenport, opened up his backpack and pulled out a handful of pill bottles, saying that at one time doctors had him on 18 different prescriptions. Nothing controlled his depression and anxiety until he started inhaling marijuana vapors.

“I’m an outlaw in a country I fought for,” Edwards said.

Iowa law, like federal law, says marijuana has “no currently accepted medical use.”

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance. That puts it in the same category as heroin and LSD and ahead of methamphetamine and cocaine in its potential for abuse.

Iowa Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, says he will introduce legislation in 2014 reclassifying marijuana as a drug with medical benefits.

Iowa drug enforcers say the data from Colorado, which has had legal medical marijuana since 2000, gives them reason to be skeptical.

The DEA-funded Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area study found that traffic fatalities involving drivers testing positive for marijuana increased 114 percent from 2008 to 2011, while overall traffic fatalities decreased 16 percent in the same period.

The study also found marijuana use increased among middle and high school students, with one high school district, Boulder County, reporting marijuana use more than three times the national rate.

“I don’t want my children growing up thinking marijuana is medicine,” Kevin Winslow, director of the Quad-Cities Metropolitan Enforcement Group, said. “It’s not. It’s a recreational drug.”

His agents have seized truck-loads of marijuana on the interstate, usually from traffickers heading east from such states as Colorado and California. He said traffickers can up the price three or four times on the black market in Iowa if they call it “medical.”

“These people normally have nothing to do with people that are sick,” he said.

Winslow attended a meeting on medical marijuana in Des Moines earlier this month to learn more about the issue. He also researched the list of ailments in Illinois medical cannabis laws.

He said he hadn’t heard of a lot of the conditions, including Dystonia, Hydromyelia and Tarlov cysts.

“I hope law enforcement will be responsible in its view of those who are gravely ill,” Winslow said. “I won’t throw a sick person in jail.”

Steve Lukan, director of the Iowa Office of Drug Control Policy, said he won’t support a change to Iowa’s drug laws until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves marijuana for medical use.

“At this point in time, Iowa is best served to see what the FDA does,” Lukan said, referring to FDA-approved research on Epidiolex, a cannabis extract, to treat epilepsy in children.

Lukan said his office has received numerous calls on the legalization issue, and his heart goes out to anyone suffering illness. But he isn’t convinced marijuana, which he said he considers as harmful as crack cocaine and methamphetamine, is a cure.

“People are misled to think this is the new miracle drug,” Lukan said.

With laws limiting research on marijuana’s medical benefits, a lot of the evidence is anecdotal.

Dr. Steve Jenison, an Ames, Iowa, native who served as the first director of New Mexico’s medical cannabis program, has seen positive results in a state that after decriminalization saw PTSD sufferers make up 46 percent of patients registering for marijuana.

“We shouldn’t be arresting and prosecuting them,” Jenison said.

(32) comments


for the record to dispel a non-believer here...my friends from Iowa have been here 4 years, Colorado had had medical marijuana since 2000..... next? I just moved her in June, got my red card last week...


Cbd... The non psychoactive part of cannabis is responsible for binding to receptors that regulate enzyme activity in lox pathways. This is why cbd works with seizures... and many other impossible ro treat conditions. The receptors as a whole make up the endogenous cannabinoid system.... which protects us from non protein attacks... AKA our bodies pretty much attacking ourselves. Things like cancer, diabetes, asthma, parkinsons, alzheimers... etc. Kind of funny we all know in comparison to lawmakers.




The following is a rebuttal to Kevin Winslow from my friend, a doctor, who knows much more about dangerous substances than Winslow does.

'Kevin Winslow, Director of the QC Metro Group, that is charged with arresting marijuana "offenders" says: " I don't want my children growing up thinking that marijuana is medicine." '

What he really means is that he doesn't want his kids to discover his fraudulent activities have ruined the lives of many other children and families were destroyed by his unconscionable acts.
No good parent would. But he would be a good soldier and stop arresting innocent people if that were his marching order, wouldn't he ?
We don't want our children growing up believing lies just because the liars out gun US. I don't want our children growing up thinking that prescription medications are safe. They kill more people, even when taken As Prescribed, than ALL illegal narcotics AND accidents combined.
We don't want our children thinking it's safe to drink water from the school fountain because it has flouride in it and flouride is a VERY harmful chemical. (You Tube: Gary Null on Flouride)
We don't want our children growing up thinking that Tobacco is safe just because it is legal and not banned.
We don't want our children growing up thinking that drinking soda pop (high fructose corn syrup) is safe. The truth is it CAUSES or conributes to many diseases, diabetes, obesity, cancers, etc. and yet it is pushed by the same gov't officials that claim they are watching out for our health and safety. (You Tube: Gary Null on this too)
We don't want our children to grow up thinking that GMO's are safe just because the gov't wants US to buy it. They refuse to label it because they don't want US making Informed Choices! This is criminal behavior. (You Tube: Gary Null on this)
We don't want our children growing up thinking that tobacco is safe because this gov't refuses to ban it. Do you need a You Tube reference ?
We don't want our children to grow up thinking that mercury dental fillings are safe or that vaccines are safe or that foods that are overly processed or contain harmful additives and colorings are safe just because the gov't lacks objectivity or integrity and routinely fails in their duties to exercise oversight authority. You Tube Gary Null or Dr. Carley on Vaccines AND You Tube the developer of most of the Vaccines currently scheduled for YOUR children, MAURICE HILLEMAN: VACCINES CAUSE CANCERS, DIABETES, AIDS etc.
We understand that Mr. Winslow has been indoctrinated by the lie machine, like so many others before him. He probably is a good person and a great father with great intentions, however, he is engaged in a fraud that is destroying the very fabric of this country. I encourage ALL law enforcement personnel to discover these truths for themselves. You Tube: NEVER GET BUSTED AGAIN: Part 1 and listen to this officer tell the truth. Also: you tube: Ex-FBI Agents Reveal What To Do If The Police Get In Your Face (Dale Carson).
We don't want our children growing up being threatened by Bullies with Badges and Bullets who are being conditioned to kill innocent young boys who do things that are normal. They are NOT criminals. (Some may be due to being poisoned with Vaccines, Prescription meds like Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors that have known violent "side-effects", anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds are being pushed by Dept of Ed etc.)
We are worried about the "Legal" things more than we are the "Illegal" - Dr. Kenneth Tennant


Ok. I would just like to ask Lukan what scientific proof or life experience would ever support his claim of the drug Marijuana being as harmful as Crack or Meth? Number one, they are two totally seperate forms of drugs.. uppers and downers... also, as a former addict myself, I will say that marijuana was the least harmful out of all of the drugs I have ever tried. Number two... there are cons as well though. I believe that if it is legalized but not in a very careful way, I can guarantee you for a fact that it will be abused as it is in other states as well. People will have a headache and want a card.. I belive that only for extreme medical cases should it be used like the ones listed in this article like the boy with the seizures etc... just as other narcotics that are legal if prescribed are treated as well because there is the potential of a patient becomming addicted as well.


There are thousands of studies that show long term and permanent damage from marijuana. Google it and see, if your drug fogged brain can manage it. But why don't we "cut to the chase" and just take the politics out of it. Make the active ingredient (THC) available in extracted form by prescription and see what happens. That way we can eliminate the people who are going to feign illness from the process. http://www.universityherald.com/articles/6232/20131216/marijuana-damages-brain-smoking-pot-brain-damage-northwestern-university.htm


There are many other active ingredients besides thc in marijuana. There already is a pill form of thc and it's not very effective. 2 states have legalized marijuana for everyone. Why are cigarettes legal (which contain hundreds more chemicals than cigarettes) and weed still illegal?

Mango C
Mango C

News for you Klaatu: The govt made THC available by prescription in the 1990s. It's called "Marinol." Almost all users prefer the natural herb to the extract.
Thousands of studies of harm? Where? Why weren't the presented to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy? Read the comments to your link. Here's one:
"The study supposedly found lingering effects two years after the cessation of heavy marijuana use... so of course the title of this article is "Marijuana damages brain FOR LIFE". Since when does two years (if you even believe the study in the first place) equal LIFE? ...."
Compare MJ to alcohol's known effect on the brain. You'll find thousands of studies showing that liquor is far more harmful.
The government will only fund studies showing harm from MJ. So what do they get?--prostitutes posing as scientists.
Meanwhile the government has patented a marijuana component for its ability to prevent or reverse brain damage. Here are the govt's own words from its application for patent #6630507:
“In more particular embodiments, the cannabinoid is used to prevent or treat an ischemic or neurodegenerative disease in the central nervous system of a subject, by administering to the subject a therapeutically effective amount of a cannabinoid to protect against oxidative injury to the central nervous system.

“The ischemic or neurodegenerative disease may be, for example, an ischemic infarct, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Down’s syndrome, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) dementia, myocardial infarction, or treatment and prevention of intraoperative or perioperative hypoxic insults that can leave persistent neurological deficits following open heart surgery requiring heart/lung bypass machines, such as coronary artery bypass grafts… “


This study/article has nothing to do with medical pot, why post a link to it? Granted I did not click on any of the "blue lettering", but the basic of what I read is young people that are using it as a "recreational" drug, not as a medical drug, there is a BIG difference.


In Iowa Falls i learned from my gma that a luggage building used to be a hemp fiber factory where they made rope and textiles we needed to win the war.industrializing it again for gas and oil for our vehicles will put back to work so many people jobless.let alone the pride we would have for our government to finally join with us ridding ourselves of higher taxes caused by the ethanol and wind energy which we all thought would lower our fuel and electricity later to find out they want to make a pipeline to the east coast to export our ethanol and currently selling the wind power grid to canada.all of which is controlled by big business and is very very much an eyesore clogging up our beautiful landscapes.it was once said our biggest export from our state are college graduates lets get out of this debt and get rid of the big businesses and keep the money home where it belongs to rebuild our small towns which have disappeared. please reinstate our heritage we once had long ago where people lived long and prospered and held our flag high in the sky.




Why does the main page say 0 comments? Conspiracy qctimes?


"The DEA-funded Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area study found that traffic fatalities involving drivers testing positive for marijuana increased 114 percent from 2008 to 2011, while overall traffic fatalities decreased 16 percent in the same period". - That appears to be convincing evidence that marijuana use makes you a SAFER driver. More people using marijuana and less traffic fatalities.
“I don’t want my children growing up thinking marijuana is medicine,” Kevin Winslow, director of the Quad-Cities Metropolitan Enforcement Group, said. “It’s not. It’s a recreational drug.” - That is fine Mr. Winslow. You have your way of parenting and I have mine. Marijuana is a medicine in 20 states and Washington D.C. Why is my pain and suffering any less important than the states that have legalized marijuana as medicine?


Legalize medicine. I would rather medicate with a plant than some pill I don't know what will do to me in the long run.


Iowans, please let your legislators, the board of Pharmacy, and your governor know how you feel about a Medical Cannabis Program in Iowa. They listen to their voters in their districts. Any comments put in this form will be seen by your legislators. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1vAWJ2fnDLdVUaYqu8uwlhpdYB54PDf4o7oIgTCOKYJ4/viewform


Its sad LEO'S sell their soul everyday making criminals out of pot smokers. Leave me and my pony alone you money grubbing low lifes. Go leos and commit some democrat and make a mental patient out of them:)


Lukan believes marijuana is as harmful as crack cocaine and methamphetamine ... WOW. I'd LOVE to see the stats on that - starting with the # of deaths! This guy needs to work from facts and data rather than a clear prejudice.


Persecuting, er, prosecuting, marijuana users is very profitable.

Mr. Lukan is paid to do so. MEG is paid to do so. Many police and sheriff agencies use the confiscation law to their advantage.

But, inevitably, marijuana will be legalized in the U.S. Maybe in five years, maybe in ten years, but, inevitably, it will be legalized.

Until then, to quote Mel Brooks in Blazing Saddles: WE'VE TO PROTECT OUR PHONY BALONEY JOBS, GENTLEMEN!


actually what is the more likely case is these are men who have been taught to believe so.. because they have never experienced the effects of the drug personally and are taught out of their cookie cutter books to believe what they are told to believe... sheep. just like religion, man...

Kevin Hunt
Kevin Hunt

Steve Lukan is a liar.
On Feb. 17, 2010, after reviewing testimony from four public hearings and reading through more than 10,000 pages of submitted material, members of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy unanimously voted to recommend that the Iowa legislature remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Iowa Controlled Substances Act. Source: "Iowa Board of Pharmacy recommends rescheduling marijuana". The Northern Iowan. 2010-02-22.

Kevin Hunt
Kevin Hunt

"drivers testing positive for marijuana increased 114 percent from 2008 to 2011"?

The toxicology lab that tested these samples was found to be shoddy.

"The accusations about Colorado’s toxicology lab were included in a March 18 report that was made public.

The investigators who examined the lab laid out a list of problems: The lab was understaffed; although blood and urine samples were stored behind a locked door, they were kept in an unlocked refrigerator and vulnerable to tampering; and lab employees who appeared in court said they felt that they had not been adequately trained, and that they were being pressured to present themselves as experts."


yes and then this stat "while overall traffic fatalities decreased 16 percent in the same period."...that shows a decrease in overall fatalities....., Lukan uses Pretzel Logic to further prove his idiocy,,,


the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING!!!13

20 years behind us Iowa, sad and scary...hard to believe this country is so backwards and 2 decades behind the greatest state...



what you may think you know about Rev Ray Green and what is the truth are far from your portrayal....I know retirees who left Iowa for Colorado, and added 10+years to their lives but cutting back the FDA drugs they were fed in Iowa...I work full time, walk a mile+ each day to work from bus stop, and I have Multiple Sclerosis.


this claim would be false because they only legalized marijuana in colorado last year. so how would it have added ten years to their lives if it hasnt even been ten years down the road. u have no proof whatsoever to that claim.


my friends from Iowa have been here 4 years, Colorado had had medical marijuana since 2000..... next? I just moved her in June, got my red card last week...

senor citizen

RevRayGreen is a shining example of the result of Marijuana dependence. Hopefully the Social Security Administration will cease to facilitate it's use with stricter standards SSI and Disability Qualifications.


And you are a shining example of a mis-informed senior citizen, that doesn't read up on medical marijuana.


“People are misled to think this is the new miracle drug,” Lukan said."---- no we are learning how cannabis was used for medicinal purposes since ancient times...


@SteveLukan coke and meth actually kill people from use and abuse death from cannabis consumption since the beginning of man zero

Arc Angel

Move to Colorado or Calli !


Lukan you need to go......".Lukan said his office has received numerous calls on the legalization issue, and his heart goes out to anyone suffering illness. But he isn’t convinced marijuana, which he said he considers as harmful as crack cocaine and methamphetamine....."

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