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  • Writer's pictureTom Fowler

Is Weed Legal in Iowa?

The answer to this question is "no," cannabis, whether medical or recreational. Iowa law states that it is illegal.

However, the Iowa legislature has legalized marijuana for people who require medical CBD. It has been found that high doses of CBD can assist with a range of ailments such as chronic pain, inflammation, and Crohn's disease, among others.

Many state-licensed dispensaries sell legalized marijuana for people who have a patient card. These forms of medical marijuana have specific limits set out in the Medical Cannabidiol Act that categories CBD and THC ratios.

Marijuana possession of any amount could be punishable by a fine of $1000 or up to six months in jail.

Legislation History

Legislation History

In Iowa, a law was passed known as SF 2360. It is also called the Medical Cannabidiol Act. The Act enables licensed and qualified neurologists to provide patients with epilepsy to use Iowa marijuana with a THC limit of 3% or less.

This act of medical marijuana decriminalization has made the possession of cannabis oil legal for the treatment of chronic epilepsy.

Governor Terry Brandstad signed HF 524 in 2017, which legalized marijuana for use in public health cases. It allows licensed dispensaries to sell medical cannabis within Iowa to patients with a valid card.

In 2018, groups within the Iowa legislature considered amendments to the act but since then did not adopt any changes.

However, Governor Kim Reynolds signed HF 2589 in 2020 that added several more qualified conditions that medical marijuana could help treat. The list of medical professionals and doctors who can recommend medical CBD as a treatment has now increased.

When these new laws were put in place, the amount of THC allowed in these strains went from 3% to 4.5grams of total THC over a 90 day period.

Where is it Safe to Purchase Cannabis in Iowa?

If you are a registered caregiver or patient, you can purchase medical cannabis from Iowa's many licensed dispensaries. A patient can purchase weed that contains 4.5 grams of total THC within a 90 day period. Physicians or doctors recommending medical marijuana are allowed to offer more THC for patients who are terminally ill. There are some cases of individuals having a better response to higher doses to help heal their pain.

Products that are approved all come from one manufacturer and have four different CBD to THC ratios.

  • 20:1

  • 2:1

  • 1:1

  • 1:20

There is a range of medical administration methods that are approved, including:

  • The use of medical marijuana through a nebulizer is allowed. This method converts the cannabis into a liquid form, and then it's sprayed as a breathable mist.

  • Oral Ingestion including capsules, sublingual, tinctures, tablets, and liquids.

  • Rectal or vaginal suppositories

  • Gels, creams, lotions, transdermal patches, ointments, and other topical forms

  • Vaporizers

Where Does Iowa Law Say it's Safe to Consume Cannabis?

The medical marijuana laws in Iowa do not mention where patients may consume their medication. Most forms of consumption are in an oral form, such as tinctures, capsules, or tablets, so ingesting your medication should not be an issue. Vaping, on the other, is strictly prohibited in any public area. The Iowa code prohibits smoking cannabis of any kind in a public park, and penalties are issued for a first offense.

Possession of Cannabis

Caregivers or registered patients may possess marijuana that contains no more than 4.5 grams of THC every three months. If the patient has a waiver or a terminal illness, they can have more medical marijuana. This needs to go under the discretion of the state of Iowa.

It is good to note that home cultivation and cannabis flower are illegal in the state, so the THC must be kept in acceptable forms.

Medical Marijuana in Iowa

Qualifying Conditions

  • Nausea, severe vomiting, or chronic pain caused by cancer.

  • Wasting disease (Cachexia)

  • Lou Gehrig's disease

  • ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)

  • Chronic Back Pain

  • Corticobasal degeneration


  • Crohn's disease

  • Seizures

  • PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)

  • Parkinson's disease

  • Severe multiple sclerosis

  • Regular muscle spasms

  • Intractable epilepsy and autism that is severe, including aggressive behavior and self-injury.

  • Illness is terminal, and the person has a life expectancy of under one year. If the treatment causes nausea, vomiting, chronic pain, or cachexia, medical marijuana can be used.

Applications Process

Caregivers of incapacitated adults or minors can apply at the Iowa Department of Health. First, you need to download the practitioner certification form and provide it to a healthcare professional to help you complete the form. After that, they complete a printed or online application that needs to be submitted with the certification. That is going to be your first step in the verification process.

  • You are going to require a copy of your valid driver's license or ID that was issued by the state.

  • $25 or $100 payment and a copy of your medical aid or social security disability card.

If you do not have a permanent card, a temporary one is available while the others are mailed out. A temporary card is valid at all local dispensaries.

Caregivers and Medical Cannabis

A designated caregiver may fill out an adult patient registration application under their permission. The healthcare professional then furnishes the caregiver with the application number of the patient. With this information, the caregiver can fill out the registration forms and help the sufferer of the above diseases.

In the case of minors, a healthcare practitioner form is all that the patient requires. This form is going to have the designated caregiver's name on it.

Once the minor or adult patient's application number is in possession of the caregiver, they can complete their application. When a caregiver completes the application, the following must be included:

  • A valid ID photo

  • Driver's license from Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota, or Missouri.

  • Your Iowa state ID card

  • The payment amount of $25

There are temporary caregiver cards sent out by email while the individual waits for their permanent version.


Patients who have a valid CBD or medical marijuana card and aren't from the state of Iowa are not allowed to purchase from a dispensary.

They are, however, allowed to be in possession of medical marijuana for any ailments that they are suffering from. At the same time, people who live in the state or come from outside may not possess any drug paraphernalia. That is a class b felony and is going to be treated as such whether it's your first or second offense.

Lab Testing

The law in Iowa states that manufacturers who have state-approved labs need to work with the government to test random samples for each lot of medical cannabis produced.

These lab tests are used to determine different levels such as:

  • Metals

  • Cannabinoids

  • Solvents

  • Potency

  • Pesticides

  • Microbiological impurities

Is Recreational Marijuana Legal in Iowa?

The answer to this is no, it is not on the same level as liquor. Recreational marijuana is not legal in the state of Iowa. Anyone caught with cannabis flower is going against federal law and could spend up to six months in prison. Even for a simple misdemeanor, you could face up to 100 hours of community service.

For Who Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Iowa?

The marijuana laws state the registered caregiver and patients can buy the controlled substance from a licensed dispensary. Products containing 4.5 grams of THC can be purchase by patients every 90 days.

Is It a Felony To Be in Possession of a Controlled Substance in Iowa?

It all depends on the amount and what substance you have. In the case of marijuana, possession of fewer than 50 kilograms is listed as a class D felony. This is punishable by a fine of $1000 and six months in jail. If the offenders have any previous offenses in their name, penalties are going to increase significantly.

Are Dab Pens Legal in the State of Iowa?

Are Dab Pens Legal in the State of Iowa?

is a way to use recreational marijuana, and therefore it is illegal to own a dab pen. These forms of cannabis go against the marijuana laws and can be classified as a class c felony. If you don't want to have problems with law enforcement or suffer subsequent convictions, it is best to get legal advice in case you run into any trouble. The recreational use of marijuana, even for personal use, is considered a big no-no in Iowa.


The medical use of cannabis in Iowa has increased over the years due to the many health benefits. The city council and Senate bill take marijuana charges very seriously, so be sure that you have all your patient cards with you if you are in possession of medical marijuana.

Recreational use is strictly forbidden, and criminal justice is going to be served to anyone who goes against the law.

There might be a new law passed in the future that permits personal use of recreational cannabis, but until then, be sure to stay on the right side of the Iowa code. For more help regarding Iowa laws and regulations, contact Tom Fowler Law.

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