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Is weed legal in Iowa?

Is weed legal in Iowa?

Table of contents

  • Medical: Yes, limited
  • Recreational: No
  • Reciprocity: No

Iowa has not legalized adult-use cannabis, but it does have a medical cannabis program. Medical marijuana was legalized in May 2017 with sales starting in December 2018. The program is quite limited, with only manufactured products that have a small amount of THC allowed every 90 days. As of June 2022, there were just five medical marijuana dispensaries to serve the entire state. 

Iowa Medical Marijuana Program 

The medical program for Iowa patients is limited. You cannot access flower or edibles, but you can get manufactured products: capsules, tinctures, liquids, oils, lotions, gels, transdermal patches, suppositories, and nebulized forms of cannabis. These products are capped at just 4.5 mg of THC every 90 days (with two exceptions for terminal and persistent conditions).

The state does not offer reciprocity and does not recognize medical cannabis cards from other states. But medical cardholders from other states can possess cannabis products that fall within the Iowa guidelines. 

Iowa has only five medical cannabis dispensaries and just two manufacturing locations for medication. Lack of access to dispensaries, limited product availability, and no health insurance coverage all drive up the cost for medical patients. Additionally, Iowa law allows property owners and employers to ban medical cannabis use. 

To become a patient, you must apply online by filling out a form and providing a form certified by your healthcare provider as well as a photo ID and payment. Medical cards must be renewed every year. 

Qualifying conditions to get a medical marijuana card include: 

  • Severe or chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, cachexia or severe wasting due to cancer 
  • Seizures
  • Crohn’s disease  
  • Chronic pain
  • Multiple Sclerosis 
  • AIDS or HIV 
  • ALS
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Any terminal illness with a probable life expectancy of under one year, if the illness or its treatment produces: severe or chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, cachexia or severe wasting
  • Ulcerative colitis 
  • Severe, intractable pediatric autism with self-injurious or aggressive behaviors
  • Severe, intractable autism with self-injurious or aggressive behaviors
  • Corticobasal Degeneration 

Possible penalties

Since adult-use cannabis isn’t legal in Iowa, the penalties for being caught with cannabis are still steep. First-time possession charges for flower or paraphernalia are a misdemeanor, including up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Multiple offenses increase the jail time and fine while growing and selling cannabis carries felony charges. 

How do people in Iowa view marijuana?

Like many places in the Midwest, cannabis is a divisive topic in Iowa, but public opinion is shifting. A majority of residents supported medical legalization and support for recreational cannabis has slowly gained ground. A 2021 poll by a local paper found that 54% of adults favor recreational legalization, a marked change from just 29% in 2013. The poll also found a majority of Iowans support expanding their existing medical program, which is one of the most restrictive in the country. 

CBD regulations

CBD is fully legal in Iowa under the 2018 federal farm bill. CBD was first legalized in Iowa in 2014 under the Medical Cannabidiol Act but is now available across the state. 

Can you grow your own weed?

No, you cannot grow your own cannabis plants in Iowa. Cultivation carries a felony charge.  

Visiting Iowa – can you buy or bring marijuana products?

Recreational cannabis isn’t legal in Iowa so if you’re interested in consuming during your visit, you’ll have to purchase products from the black market (also called the legacy market.) Purchase at your own risk; these products are unregulated, untested, and unlabeled. 

You cannot legally bring cannabis across a border into Iowa unless you are a medical cardholder with a compliant product. Carry cannabis at your own risk; possession of any amount of weed is a misdemeanor and can come with up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. 

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