Iowa Cannabis Laws

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Legal status

  • Medical Program

Possession limits

  • Medical patients

    No limitMaximum THC content = 3%

  • Recreational users

    Illegal

State taxes

  • Medical patients

    6%

  • Recreational users

    Illegal

Cultivation

  • Cultivation is illegal
Learn more

Application process

To apply for a medical cannabis card in the state of Iowa

Once you have registered with Leafwell and been approved by one of our medical marijuana doctors online, apply to the state medical marijuana program. Receive your MMJ card and start shopping for your medical cannabis from a licensed dispensary.

Get your card

Table of contents

  1. Is cannabis legal in Iowa?
  2. What are the medical marijuana laws in Iowa?
  3. What medical conditions qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card in Iowa?
  4. How do I get certified for medical cannabis in Iowa?
  5. Is telemedicine allowed for medical cannabis consultations in Iowa?
  6. How much cannabis can I possess in Iowa with an MMJ Card?
  7. Is it legal to grow cannabis in Iowa?
  8. Does Iowa accept out-of-state cards?
  9. Will my Iowa card be accepted in other states?
  10. Are there employment laws protecting medical cannabis card holders in Iowa?
  11. What are the medical cannabis product testing requirements in Iowa?
  12. Where is it safe to purchase cannabis in Iowa?
  13. Where is it safe to consume marijuana in Iowa?

Iowa has legalized medical cannabis. However, non-medical, adult use of cannabis is currently illegal in Iowa.


What are the medical marijuana laws in Iowa?

Medical cannabis:

Throughout the 70s

Failed decriminalization attempts

1979 – 1981

A therapeutic research center is set up in Iowa to look at the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis.

2014

2017

Expansion on the Iowa Medical CBD Program. Qualifying conditions now include cancer, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease.

  • The initial Act allowed for a maximum THC percentage of 3% in a product. This has been changed to a maximum of 4.5 g THC possession limit every 90 days.
  • If the patient needs more THC to treat their condition, or if the patient is terminal, they can get an exemption on the limits on the amount of THC they can legally carry
  • Smoking cannabis remains illegal in Iowa, even for medical marijuana patients.
  • You must be aged 18 or over to qualify for the Iowa medical CBD program.

Recreational cannabis:

Recreational cannabis is illegal in Iowa. There are attempts at legalization, but Iowa has some rather strict and punitive laws regarding adult users. This means that punishments can be rather harsh for non-medical adult cannabis users.


What medical conditions qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card in Iowa?

The Iowa law lists the following medical conditions as qualifiers for a medical cannabis card:

  • AIDS/HIV
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease
  • Cancer – 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.
  • 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)
  • Seizures
  • 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 illness or its treatment produces one or more of the following: severe or chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, cachexia or severe wasting


How do I get certified for medical cannabis in Iowa?

Here’s how to get certified for medical cannabis in Iowa:

  1. Register online with Leafwell – Create an account online, then you can speak to a doctor and qualify for an Iowa medical marijuana card. You are only billed if approved.
  2. Attend your appointment and discuss with your physician why you would like an MMJ Card – The doctor will review your medical records and ask you questions based on your medical history. They will provide you with advice and guidance on whether medical marijuana is a good choice for you.
  3. Receive your certificate from Leafwell – This is a certificate which says that your doctor recommends you become a cannabis patient under the state’s current laws and this certificate is required to apply for your MMJ Card.
  4. Complete the medical marijuana application – After your appointment, you’ll receive the next steps to help guide you through the state process. You must register with the Iowa Department of Health (IDPH) Medical Cannabidiol Program. 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 1 year.

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Is telemedicine allowed for medical cannabis consultations in Iowa?

Yes, telemedicine is legal in Iowa and you can get certified for cannabis online.


How much cannabis can I possess in Iowa with an MMJ Card?

There are no specific weights given regarding cannabis possession. Iowa instead limits by the amount of THC that can be held every 90 days.

Only CBD and 3% or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is legal for serious medical conditions. CBD flower is not legal.

Patients are allowed to buy products containing up to 4.5 grams of total THC in a 90-day period. Treating 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.

Approved products all come from one manufacturer and they are available in four different CBD to THC ratios:

  • 20:1
  • 2:1
  • 1:1
  • 1:20

Approved medical administration methods include:

  1. Nebulizable (used in a nebulizer, which converts liquid medication into a breathable mist)
    • Oral
    • Capsules
    • Liquids
  2. Sublingual
    • Tablets
    • Tinctures
  3. Suppositories
    • Rectal
    • Vaginal
  4. Topical forms
    • Creams
    • Gels
    • Lotions
    • Ointments
    • Transdermal patches
  5. Vaporizable (Vapes)

Cannabis flower and home cultivation are illegal in Iowa.


Does Iowa accept out-of-state cards?

Iowa does not recognize other states’ medical marijuana programs and cards, and so does not have reciprocity.


Will my Iowa card be accepted in other states?

An Iowa medical marijuana card will be recognized by some other states with a medical marijuana program and reciprocity.

The following states accept or recognize out-of-state medical marijuana cards:

  • Arizona
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • US Virgin Islands
  • Utah
  • Washington, D.C.

However, this does not always mean you can purchase cannabis at a medical marijuana dispensary (non-medical adult use is fine) – just that you are protected by the state’s medical marijuana laws to some extent. It is wise to call the dispensary ahead if you are a medical cannabis patient from another state and you intend on purchasing medical marijuana.

The qualifying condition usually has to match between states, so if your qualifying condition is accepted in one state and not your visiting state, your recommendation is not necessarily valid. You are also beholden to the visiting state’s medical marijuana laws, not the state that issued your card.

The following states accept out-of-state applications, allowing a visiting patient application to use medical cannabis for the duration of their stay:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • West Virginia (cancer patients only)

Are there employment laws protecting medical cannabis card holders in Iowa?

There are no specific laws in Iowa protecting medical cannabis patients. A positive test result for marijuana may allow the employer to discharge an employee. However, if an employee’s work is not affected and if the employee suffers from a debilitating disease/illness, an employee who tests positive for cannabis but complies with the medical marijuana law could support a common law wrongful discharge claim due to Iowa’s interpretation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


What are the medical cannabis product testing requirements in Iowa?

Iowa requires medical marijuana to be tested for safety. Contaminants tested at the process lot level include:

  • Pesticides
  • Residual Solvents and Processing Chemicals
  • Metals

Testing of a packaged lot will include:

  • Potency – THC, THCa, CBD, CBDa (testing for THCa and CBDa will not be included if a manufacturer uses a decarboxylation process prior to extraction)
  • A laboratory will test samples against a concentration claim for THC and CBD that is submitted by the manufacturer. A manufacturer must provide the laboratory with a label claim for THC and CBD for each formulation.
  • Microbiological impurities

Where is it safe to purchase cannabis in Iowa?

In all states with a medical marijuana program, the only way to purchase medicinal cannabis products is via a legally-licensed dispensary or pharmacy, or another legally designated space to purchase cannabis. Only those with a legal license to sell cannabis can actually do so.


Where is it safe to consume marijuana in Iowa?

All states with a medical marijuana program have some restrictions on where a person can legally use cannabis. Near schools, nurseries, parks or other places where children are expected to be, using cannabis is illegal. Use of cannabis on or in federal land or buildings, hospitals or any other such healthcare space is also illegal. Private members club and landowners may also prohibit cannabis use on their property or restrict it at their discretion.

The safest place to use medical cannabis is in the safety of your own home. It is wise to use common sense and generally keep consumption out of public view, and utilize discreet consumption methods wherever possible.