Medical Marijuana in Iowa
The “Hawkeye State” began its journey into the medical marijuana industry in 2014 when the Iowa legislature passed the “Medical Cannabidiol Act.” Under this Act, licensed neurologists along with other healthcare practitioners were permitted to treat patients with intractable epilepsy to use CBD. By 2017, Governor Brandstad enacted HF 524, which further expanded patient access to allow those diagnosed with Parkinson’s, cancer, multiple sclerosis, seizures, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, ALS, most terminal illnesses with life expectancy less than one year and untreatable pain to use low-THC cannabis products. In addition, this law allowed the production of low-THC cannabis and cannabis products by creating a framework for growing, manufacturing, and distribution companies. By 2018, five CBD dispensaries were issued licenses allowing the sale of medical cannabis products by December.
Although Iowa continues to expand access to low-THC cannabis products, the state continues to lag behind especially compared to its neighboring states. The State of Iowa has yet to decriminalize small possession of marijuana as it is still punishable up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Further, since Iowa lacks a citizen initiative process, Iowa residents will only see a change of law if the legislature itself passes a law, or if the legislature refers the question to the voters.
Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D), Sen. Janet Petersen (D), and Sen. Sarah Trone Garriott (D) have put forth a proposal to amend the Iowa Constitution that would allow for an adult-use cannabis program for those 21 years and older, however, Senate Judiciary Chair Brad Zaun did not even give the proposal a committee vote. The November 2022 election is extremely important for Iowa voters as every single lawmaker will be on the ballot this year.
Upcoming Applications for Medical Marijuana Business Licenses
Currently, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship is accepting applications for indoor Iowa Hemp Licenses for 2022. In the near future, there will be an open application process for Medical Marijuana Business Licenses in Iowa. Now is the time to get started with your comprehensive and strategic business plan! Contact one of our consultants to further discuss your options here.