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You can access medical marijuana in Iowa, but you will only have access to low-THC products. However, patients can apply for a waiver to access larger doses of THC.
An important note is that although we use the term “marijuana,” the Iowa Department of Health generally tends to use the words “medical CBD” and “cannabis,” especially as there are limitations on the amount of THC that products can contain.
The state’s medical cannabis rules allow patients to speak to a medical marijuana doctor online and get certified for Iowa medical marijuana via telehealth platforms like Leafwell.
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Benefits of Having a Medical Card in Iowa
You must have a valid medical cannabis card and certificate to possess cannabis in Iowa legally. Recreational marijuana is not legal in Iowa, nor is CBD flower.
Patients can buy products containing up to 4.5 grams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a 90-day window. Qualifying physicians can recommend more THC for terminally ill patients or others who haven’t been helped enough by 4.5 grams per 90 days with a waiver form. (You can get this waiver from Leafwell.)
Approved cannabidiol products all come from one manufacturer. They are available in four different CBD-to-THC ratios:
Approved medical administration methods include:
- Nebulizable (used in a nebulizer, which converts liquid medication into a breathable mist)
- Topical forms
- Transdermal patches
- Vaporizable (Vapes)
Anyone who is at least 18 can get an Iowa medical marijuana card for themselves as long as they’re a resident of the state and have a qualifying condition.
Can Minors Get a Medical Card in Iowa?
Those under 18 or needing assistance accessing medical cannabis will need a caregiver, who will need to register at the same time as the patient.
According to Iowa law in 2023, the following debilitating conditions may qualify you for a medical marijuana card:
- AIDS or HIV
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Cancer (if the illness or its treatment produces one or more of the following: severe or chronic pain, nausea or vomiting, cachexia or severe wasting)
- Chronic pain
- Corticobasal degeneration
- Crohn’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) with severe and persistent muscle spasms
- Parkinson’s disease (PD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Severe, intractable autism with self-injurious or aggressive behaviors
- Ulcerative colitis
- Any terminal illness with a probable life expectancy of under one year — if the disease or its treatment produces one or more of the following: severe or chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting.
How to Apply
Documents You’ll Need
To apply for your MMJ card in Iowa, you must show your signed certificate, which provides proof of your condition, and valid identification documents. You should gather the following:
- Photo ID, such as a driver’s license or state ID card. Out-of-state IDs are not accepted.
- Proof of residency, such as a utility bill, bank statement, or correspondence with the state department.
- A signed medical cannabis certificate (which can be obtained via Leafwell).
- A digital photograph.
Steps to Apply
- Register online with Leafwell to speak to a doctor and qualify for an Iowa medical marijuana card. The online consultation and renewal cost $199; you are only billed if approved.
- Attend your appointment and discuss why you want an MMJ card with your physician. The doctor will ask you questions based on your medical history and provide you with advice and guidance on whether medical marijuana is a good choice for you.
- Receive your certificate from Leafwell. This certificate says your doctor recommends you become a cannabis patient under the state’s current laws. The certificate is required to apply for your MMJ card.
- Complete the medical marijuana application with the Iowa Department of Public Health. After your appointment, you’ll receive the next steps to guide you through the state’s application process. Once approved, the state will mail you your card. (Please note: Leafwell will not be sending you the card — this is the state of Iowa’s responsibility). The card is valid for one year.
What to Expect During Your Leafwell Appointment
Your online medical marijuana evaluation with Leafwell is quick and easy.
To get started, we’ll need you to provide us with some preliminary details, and you can also upload some medical records if you have any relevant ones. These are all passed securely to one of our registered practitioners, who can familiarize themselves with your application before your consultation.
The consultation is simple and secure on our HIPAA-compliant telemedicine platform.
You will meet with an Iowa healthcare provider who has experience issuing certificates for medical marijuana to patients for various medical issues. The healthcare provider will speak with you about why you are applying and ask some questions regarding your medical conditions and history.
At the end of the consultation, the healthcare provider can make an informed decision about whether they recommend using medical cannabis based on the medical information they have obtained. If an application is successful, the registered practitioner will complete the certification, ready to be uploaded to the Iowa medical marijuana program system as part of an application.
An application must be successful for you to be charged for the consultation. Once obtained, the certification will last for one year.
An online consultation with Leafwell to get your medical marijuana recommendation costs $149.
The state fee for a medical cannabis card is $100 ($25 reduced fee for qualifying patients) for a one-year registration. You must renew the card annually. A renewal with Leafwell costs $149.
Medical Marijuana Reciprocity
Iowa does not accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards at dispensaries. However, cannabis cardholders from other states can possess products that fall within the Iowa guidelines.
While Iowa does not practice medical marijuana reciprocity, several other states do, and they will recognize an Iowa medical marijuana card. The following states accept or recognize out-of-state medical marijuana cards:
- Arkansas *
- California ^
- Colorado ^
- Connecticut ^
- Hawaii *
- Illinois ^
- Maryland ^ (as of July 2023)
- Michigan (qualifying state must also have reciprocity with Michigan)
- Missouri ^
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey *
- New Mexico * (recreational cannabis is legal in NM)
- New York ^
- Oklahoma *
- Oregon ^
- Pennsylvania (minors only)
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- U.S. Virgin Islands *
- Utah (max. 45 days, after which the patient must apply for a Utah MMJ card)
- Vermont ^
- Virginia ^
- Washington ^
- Washington, D.C.
States marked with * require visitors to complete a visiting patient application for their stay.
States marked with ^ have adult use programs but do not accept out-of-state cards.
Applying as a Caregiver
Parents, legal guardians, and anyone 18 or older who is a resident of Iowa or a neighboring state and has been designated by the patient as a caretaker can apply for a registration card, allowing them to obtain medicinal cannabis and administer it to a patient.
To apply, a caregiver must:
- Be listed on the healthcare practitioner form as the designated primary caregiver.
- Complete the registration application online.
- Apply and pay a $25 non-refundable fee.
- The Office of Medical Cannabidiol will review and email you once you’re approved — the email will include a temporary card, and a permanent card will be mailed out afterward.
Where to Buy Medical Marijuana
In all states with a regulated medical or adult-use program, the only way to purchase marijuana products is via a legally-licensed dispensary, pharmacy, or another legally designated space to buy cannabis.
In Iowa, medical marijuana patients may acquire cannabis at one of five medical cannabidiol dispensaries that are licensed state-wide. Only one approved provider creates cannabis products, which are available in various CBD-to-THC ratios and delivery formats.
When seeking medical marijuana, it’s a good idea to talk to dispensary staff and ask plenty of questions. These trained professionals can assist you in identifying the best cannabis products for specific health conditions and address any questions or concerns.
It is illegal to grow medical marijuana in Iowa.
Iowa Medical Marijuana Laws to Know
Iowa has some of the most strict laws concerning cannabis on both the recreational and medical front. Adult-use cannabis is entirely illegal, and the first offense for possession is punishable by up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine. Medical CBD obtained from or produced elsewhere besides the sole licensed producer in Iowa is treated as unlicensed marijuana.
If you’re ready to secure your Iowa MMJ card, connect with one of Leafwell’s virtual physicians today.
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