Iowa Cannabis Law History

On July 1, 2014, possession of cannabidiol extract was legalized for a narrow group of patients who suffer from intractable epilepsy and their caregivers through the state’s first Medical Cannabidiol Act.

On May 12, 2017, Governor Terry Brandstand signed House Bill 524, which legalized the use of low-THC cannabis oil for patients who suffer from one or more of eight (8) qualifying conditions, as well as terminal illness with a life expectancy of less than one year. Additionally, HB 524 provides for the establishment of the regulated cultivation and sale of marijuana for the purpose of producing low-TCH cannabis oil.

Qualifying Conditions

Certified physicians may only recommend medical marijuana for the following conditions:

  • Cancer (with severe or chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, cachexia or severe wasting)
  • Multiple sclerosis with severe and persistent muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • AIDS or HIV (as defined in Iowa Code, section 141A.1)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Any terminal illness, with a probable life expectancy of under one year (if the illness or its treatment produces one or more of the following: severe or chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting; cachexia or severe wasting)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Untreatable pain

Key Dates

The application periods for both types of licenses are now closed.  

  • Applications for dispensaries were due on March 8, 2018 at 4 p.m.
  • Dispensaries must be licensed by April 1, 2018. The initial license effective period is April 1 – November 30, 2018.
  • A Notice of Intent to award licenses will be posted on March 26, 2018.
  • The Department of Public Health was required to license manufacturing facilities by December 1, 2017 and issued one (1) license to MedPharm Iowa. The Department reserves the right to re-issue a competitive bid for the second license. This may occur in late Spring 2018, after dispensary licenses are issued.
  • The program must be operational by December 1, 2018.

Application Fees/Start-up Costs

  • The application fee for a manufacturing facility is $7,500.
  • The application fee for a dispensary is $5,000.

License types

The Department of Consumer Protection intends on licensing between three (3) and ten (10) new dispensaries. Holders of dispensary licenses may operate at up to five (5) locations.

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       Photo by Flickr user versageek