A new initiative seeking to legalize medical marijuana has been unveiled in the Iowa Senate, and the proposal will have its first test on Wednesday.

Senate Study Bill 1190 has been scheduled for a hearing before a three-member Senate subcommittee, which is expected to advance it to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, a supporter of medical marijuana, said the bill would allow the use of medical cannabis for about a dozen illnesses, ranging from cancer to glaucoma, and permit the production and sale of medical marijuana in Iowa.

“I feel very optimistic that we will get something passed,” Zaun said. However, he added, “Obviously, this will take some negotiation with the House.”

Lawmakers will have to act quickly, though, if they want to pass a bill this year. The 2017 session could adjourn as early as next week.

Iowans are now allowed to possess cannabis oil for the treatment of epilepsy. But it’s illegal to manufacture or distribute that oil in the state, and federal law prohibits its transportation across state lines. In practice, that makes it illegal for Iowans to obtain the product. The law was enacted in 2014 but is scheduled to expire in July, leaving no state law in its place.

Minority Democrats in the Iowa House and Senate have generally supported the legalization of medical marijuana. But Republican lawmakers have been divided. Many say they’d like to see Iowa grow the plants and process the medication within the state to make it more readily available to Iowans who need it. Others, though, say that goes too far and violates federal regulations, which still outlaw medical and recreational use of marijuana.

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