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Iowa Medical Marijuana Law

In the state of Iowa, medical marijuana is currently legal. Once you’ve registered with the state as a medical marijuana patient, you’ll be able to buy capsules, tinctures, lotions, and other cannabis products without fear of legal ramifications.

Even if you have a medical cannabis card, smoking marijuana is prohibited in Iowa. Recreational marijuana is also outlawed throughout the state.

Every 90 days, certified patients can lawfully purchase up to 4.5 grams of THC. Exceptions are provided in specific circumstances when patients require more product.

If you are discovered with recreational or medicinal marijuana that you did not get with an MMJ card, you’ll face the following legal consequences:

  • First-time offenders may face a misdemeanor conviction, up to six months in prison, and a $1,000 fine.
  • Repeat offenders risk up to two years in prison and a $6,250 fine.
  • Recurring violations may result in referrals to drug treatment programs.
  • Simply having paraphernalia can result in misdemeanor convictions, which can result in up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.

Cultivation and distribution are both felonies. In those situations, the sentence is dictated by the weight of the marijuana, starting at five years in prison and a $7,500 fine for less than 50 kg.

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Iowa Medical Marijuana Law History

Iowa first legalized marijuana in 1923 in response to national demands for prohibition. Then, beginning in the 1970s, there were several failed attempts to legalize marijuana.

Fortunately, from 1979 to 1981, Iowa’s administrative guidelines authorized medicinal marijuana usage at therapeutic research institutions, establishing a medical precedent.

The next significant milestone occurred in 2014 with the passage of the Medical Cannabidiol Act. This measure, also known as SB 2360, approved prescriptions for CBD oil containing less than 3% THC, but only for individuals with persistent epilepsy. Despite the legalization of medicinal marijuana consumption, cannabis products remained difficult to obtain due to inconsistent regulations surrounding their manufacturing and distribution.

In 2017, more revisions were enacted to broaden the spectrum of qualifying conditions. Patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and untreatable pain were eligible for marijuana treatment as a result of these revisions. In addition, they approved medicinal marijuana growing in Iowa, paving the way for sanctioned shops to emerge in 2018.

Iowa’s state government enacted various measures to relax possession prohibitions in 2020. Every 90 days, patients can now acquire up to 4.5 grams of THC. Exceptions can be granted for persons who are terminally ill or whose illnesses necessitate more intensive treatment.

Marijuana Possession Laws in Iowa

Despite the fact that Iowa’s Medicinal Cannabidiol Program has authorized THC for medical patients, it nevertheless follows rigorous legal guidelines. In Iowa, for example, only packaged cannabis products are permitted, and raw flower remains prohibited.

Furthermore, Iowa legislators have only approved two regulated dispensaries, and home growing is forbidden.

Possession of Iowa medical cannabidiol is lawful under state law provided the patient in question has a valid medical marijuana card. You must have a qualifying ailment that has been diagnosed by a physician in order to obtain a card. The following are examples of qualifying medical conditions in Iowa:


  • Cancer
  • Cachexia
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Any terminal illness
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Chronic pain
  • Severe intractable autism with aggressive behaviors
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Iowa Public Consumption Laws

Promoting a meeting with the aim to sell marijuana is a criminal offense. This may result in up to a year in prison and a $1,875 fine.

If you sell marijuana near a park or school, you might be charged with a felony, which carries a mandatory 10-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $100,000.

The act of consuming a restricted drug in public is known as “simulated drunkenness.” Although it is simply a misdemeanor, further penalties for possession might be applied. Furthermore, whether in a public or private setting, medical marijuana may not be smoked in Iowa.

Iowa Cannabis DUI Laws

Even in states where medicinal marijuana is authorized, such as Iowa, driving under the influence remains illegal. Drivers in Iowa have implied consent to have their blood, breath, or urine drawn for a chemical test.

If a driver is pulled over, they have the right to legal assistance before taking the test. However, rejecting a test might result in your license being canceled for at least 90 days.

The penalties for driving when high on THC are severe:

  • First-time offenders face up to a year in prison and a $1,250 fine.
  • Second-time offenders face up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $6,250, and a one-year license suspension.
  • Third-time crimes are classified as Class D felonies and can result in up to five years in prison.

Applying for an Iowa Medical Marijuana Card?

Obtaining an Iowa medical card may appear complicated, but it is actually pretty straightforward.

To begin, you must download the Health Care Practitioner Certification Form. Then, make an appointment with a doctor and bring the form with you so they can fill it out. If you’re not sure where to look for a medical marijuana doctor, the Sanctuary can point you in the right direction.

After your doctor has signed the form, you may upload it to the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website. Be sure to include a copy of your driver’s license and pay the $100 application fee.

You must go to their website and click the “Patient Registration” tab. Then enter all of your information, upload any relevant papers, and click submit.

Next, an attestation statement will appear, and you must provide the same email address you used in your application. To finalize your electronic signature, check the verification box and then click “Continue.”

If you are certified, a temporary card will be emailed to you. A physical copy will be mailed to you shortly after.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, recreational marijuana is not legal in Iowa. Even if you have a marijuana registration card, using recreational marijuana remains unlawful.

Only non-smokable medicinal marijuana products like capsules, tinctures, topical creams, concentrates, cannabis oils, and lotions are permitted for patients and caregivers.

Even legitimate card holders are prohibited from possessing raw flower. Only processed cannabis is legal, and only for those with medicinal cards.

Patients with a card may acquire up to 4.5 grams of THC every 90 days. However, if a physician believes that that quantity is insufficient for your therapy, you may be excluded from that restriction.

Out-of-state patients who are registered with their home state’s cannabidiol program may possess and use cannabis in Iowa. However, they cannot purchase any in Iowa. Although Iowa law permits patients to register and obtain CBD oil in Minnesota, Minnesota law does not reciprocate.

Before traveling, always investigate the medical marijuana rules of the states you’ll be traveling to and through. Remember that since the federal government has not approved medicinal marijuana, carrying marijuana across state boundaries is still unlawful.

Previous felony convictions bar Iowa residents from participating in the state’s medicinal marijuana program. Furthermore, those with criminal records are barred from employment at either of the state’s two CBD producers.