Iowa Cannabis & CBD Laws


Overview: Iowans can freely use CBD oil (and other CBD products) since 2018, with the passing of the Iowa Industrial Hemp Act. However, there are strict rules related to the use of CBD, as the patients need to possess a state-issued medical marijuana registration card to be eligible to use CBD legally.

CBD Oil Laws In Iowa (The Hawkeye State)

The people of the state of Iowa can use CBD oil starting December 1, 2018. This was allowed by the Senate File 2398, and according to the House File 524, the establishment of five state-licensed medical cannabis dispensaries is allowed in the state. In April 2019, the Governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds signed a law enabling the industrial hemp production in the state of Iowa, to the satisfaction of many farmers.

This comes as a result of the growth of the global hemp market, as the hemp plant is not only used for the production of CBD, but for a variety of other useful applications, such as the production of fiber, textile, paper, plastic, biofuel and a lot more.

US CBD and Hemp Oil Policy

The growing of hemp has been legal in many countries for a long time, and most of them have established hemp farms and have perfected the cultivation of this very useful crop. The 2014 Farm Bill that legitimized the growing of hemp for research purposes and clearly distinguishing the hemp from marijuana; the 2018 Farm Bill allowed the production of hemp on a federal level. These two bills led to a lot of new farmers starting to sow industrial hemp on US soil.

Still, the many applications of hemp indicate that there is a need for a lot of industrial hemp. There are major growers of hemp, like China that produce hemp for the production of hemp fiber and textiles; and other hemp-growing countries like France, Germany, and Canada use the hemp to make food, cosmetics, and CBD oil.

Because the US has a growing market need for hemp products, it relies on imports. The hemp fiber is usually imported from China and India, while the hemp-based foods and oil are usually imported from Canada and Germany. As per the legal prescriptions, only sterile seeds, fiber and hemp oil with no THC can be imported in the USA.

Since the CBD-rich hemp and the THC-rich marijuana are varieties from the same plant – Cannabis Sativa, there are varieties that have traits from both. These are usually called mixed strains and are favored by people using marijuana for medicinal purposes, and here I present an overview of two famous mixed strains.

  • CBD Shark is a 1:1 THC vs. CBD strain that has an indica-dominant terpene profile. It produces high contents of CBD and THC, with an average of 10% for both. When lit, CBD Shark produces smooth, rich smoke smelling of ripe fruits, of wood and earth, with an earthy flavor. The high CBD content makes it ideal for dealing with health issues like headaches, pain, inflammation, stress, and depression.
  • Nordle is a mixed cannabis strain with very close THC vs. CBD ratios. It smells of sweetness and citruses and has a sweet, slightly lemony taste of the smoke. The primary effect of the body is deep relaxation that helps people dealing with stress, persistent muscle spasms, pain, and inflammation and especially helpful when dealing with lack of appetite and insomnia.

Iowan CBD oil laws

The new law about the production of hemp in Iowa allows the production and processing of hemp in the state, which is run as Hemp programs by the Department of Agriculture and the Iowa Board of Regents. The Iowa Public Health Department is responsible for the regulation, and now there are five licenses for dispensaries, one cultivator license and one license for a manufacturer of CBD products.

The CBD oil is legal to use in Iowa, but only by people suffering one of the qualifying conditions like HIV/AIDS, cancer, wasting syndrome, untreatable pain, epilepsy, terminal illness, multiple sclerosis, autism, ALS, Crohns’ disease and Parkinson disease. The CBD products need to have a high CBD and low THC content, it needs to be from respectable manufacturers, and the patients need to have a doctor’s recommendation to use CBD oil as a treatment.

Medical Marijuana

Apart from the CBD-specific marijuana laws in Iowa, there is no law that allows the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The patients that qualify can only use high-CBD oils and other CBD products like capsules, creams, edibles, and suppositories.

Recreational Use of Cannabis

Under no conditions is it allowed for people to smoke weed for fun in the Hawkeye State. This state has a severe attitude towards anything weed-related. People caught with any amount and it is their first offense, they will get a 6-month stay in prison; a second offense will be one year and a third offense will land them in prison for two years.

Buying options

The state of Iowa has licensed official dispensaries that carry CBD products that the registered patients can use. There are a total of five licensed dispensaries in Davenport, Sioux City, Waterloo, Council Bluffs, and Windsor Heights.

For anyone that is not near one of the licensed dispensaries, there is the possibility to order a CBD product online. Because CBD oil use is legal on a federal level, any Iowan resident can place an order online and have their CBD oil tincture, CBD gel capsules or CBD cosmetics delivered to their door.

Final thoughts

The Iowa Industrial Hemp Act, signed in April 2019 allows any patient that is registered with the state to use CBD oil and other CBD products. The patients need to have a debilitating medical condition and hold registration cards for the state-licensed CBD program. However, there is currently no law in Iowa allowing the use of marijuana medicinally, as is the use of marijuana recreationally. As of May 2019, there are no proposed bills or even talks about legalizing marijuana for medicinal or recreational use in Iowa. Sorry Iowans, but it looks like you need to head west to enjoy a joint.

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