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The Legal Status of Cannabis in Iowa

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Medical cannabis is legal in the state of Iowa. However, the program, which is referred to as the Medical Cannabidiol Program, is very restrictive. In Iowa, hemp products that are consumable, including CBD, are legal both for consumption and retailing. Marijuana for recreation, however, is not, and possessing even minuscule amounts is considered a misdemeanor crime. This state’s medical cannabidiol program allows for the treatment of serious medical conditions, permitting legal possession of products that contain 3% or less THC.

Cannabis Legalization Journey in Iowa:

Legalization of CBD oil (2014): On April 23, 2014, Senate Bill 2360 was introduced by a committee and passed by a 36-12 vote.  This bill made allowance for possessing and using cannabidiol that contained less than 3% THC in treating intractable epilepsy in children in cases where there was a written recommendation from a neurologist. According to the bill, the CBD must be gotten from an out-of-state source and “recommended for oral or transdermal administration”. This was signed into law by Governor Terry Branstad.

Expansion of medical CBD (2017): The same Governor, Branstad signed into law in May 2017 an expanded Medical Cannabidiol Act, increasing the number of conditions that fell under the qualifying conditions. The list expanded to include cancer, MS (Multiple Sclerosis), chronic pain, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease,  Crohn’s disease, and more.

Further expansion of medical CBD (2020): Governor Kim Reynolds approved “House File 2589” on June 29, 2020 which was an update expanding the medical conditions qualifying as well as increasing the THC content cap from 3%  to “4.5 grams per patient in a 90 day period.”

Law enforcement CBD seizures (20180: The law enforcement in Iowa started seizing products that claimed CBD content without testing. According to Iowa’s “124E Medical CBD law”, any Medical CBD that has no licensing will be treated as marijuana. It however defines Medical CBD as “any pharmaceutical grade cannabinoid found in the plant Cannabis sativa L. or Cannabis indica or any other preparation thereof that has a tetrahydrocannabinol level of no more than three percent and that is delivered in a form recommended by the medical cannabidiol board, approved by the board of medicine, and adopted by the department pursuant to rule.” The confusion is brought about by the difference between what can be considered pharmaceutical-grade CBD against what can be considered a dietary supplement.

The conditions that qualify for medical cannabis in this state include:

  • PTSD
  • Chronic Pain
  • Seizures
  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • ALS
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • AIDS or HIV
  • Autism
  • Corticobasal degeneration
  • Any terminal illness

The Iowa legislature while responding to the 2018 United States farm bill, passed into law the “Iowa Hemp Act” which was signed into law by Governor Reynolds. This Act drew out a plan for the growing of industrial hemp which was defined as cannabis that has 0.3% or less THC. This was approved by the USDA in March 2020. The same Governor later signed into law HF2581 that explicitly legalized both the sale and possession of consumable hemp products with the inclusion of CBD.

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.