Is medical marijuana legal in Iowa?

Updated on December 16, 2022. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Shatha Atiya.

Medical marijuana is legal in Iowa for patients that suffer from certain medical conditions. However, suffering from a qualifying illness for a medical card in Iowa is not all it takes to access medical cannabis lawfully in the state. First, a patient must be certified for medical marijuana by a cannabis doctor in Iowa. Next, patients must register with the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Program and get a medical marijuana card to prove their patient status.

This page mentions essential details about the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Program that patients should know before starting their application. When you’re ready to begin your medical card application, we can help you book an online appointment with a medical marijuana doctor in Iowa near you. If you’re approved by our doctor, you will get the marijuana certification needed to apply for the Iowa medical card.

How do I get medical marijuana legally in Iowa?

Only patients with valid Iowa medical cards can buy medical marijuana from authorized dispensaries in the state. Before applying for the Iowa medical card, patients must get a certification from a licensed medical marijuana doctor. Afterward, certified patients should submit their applications online via the Iowa OMC Application page.

Scheduling an appointment with a medical marijuana doctor in Iowa through QuickMedCards is easy. To begin, fill out this information form and create your account. Next, pick a time that is convenient for you. You will have your consultation through a video call which generally takes 10 to 15 minutes.

The physician’s recommendation will be valid for 90 days after your consultation.

It’s important to note that the doctor can only recommend medicinal cannabis to patients diagnosed with certain medical conditions as determined by the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Program. Usually, the doctor will consider cannabis treatment if you’re suffering from either:

  • A chronic medical condition that is normally treated with a prescription medication that could lead to physical or psychological dependence.
  • A chronic medical condition that causes severe, debilitating psychiatric disorders.

Go here to see the Iowa medical marijuana 2022 list of conditions.

Submit Your Iowa medical marijuana application

As mentioned earlier, your medical marijuana doctor must sign your Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form (marijuana certification) before you can apply online. Only then can you complete your Iowa medical marijuana application on the IDPH portal.

When applying for your Iowa medical marijuana card, there are several requirements you must meet. They include:

  • Adult patients must be at least 18 years old.
  • Minor patients (under 18 years of age) must have a registered and approved caregiver apply on their behalf.
  • Only residents of Iowa can apply for a medical marijuana card.

* Please note: Out-of-state applicants are not eligible to receive a medical card in Iowa.

Which documents are needed to complete the Iowa medical marijuana application?

When applying for the Iowa medical card, there are several documents applicants must provide to complete their application:

  1. A signed Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form signed and completed by an Iowa marijuana doctor.
  2. Photo identification. For example:
    • Iowa driver’s license
    • Iowa non-operator’s identification card
  3. Proof of financial assistance if you are eligible for the reduced fee. For example:
    • Social Security Disability Benefit notice (SSDI notice)
    • Supplemental Security Income Payment (SSI receipt)
    • Iowa Medicaid member card
    • Hawk-I member card

Go here to get a signed Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form from one of our Iowa medical marijuana doctors.

Contact details for the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Program

State Jurisdiction: Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH)

Address: Iowa Department of Public Health
Lucas State Office Building
321 E. 12th Street – Des Moines, IA 50319-0075

Phone: (515) 281-7689

Website: Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Program

About the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Act

Iowa’s first steps towards medical marijuana legalization were made back in May 2014 – when state lawmakers enacted one of the first Iowa marijuana laws – which allowed a case-by-case possession of low-THC cannabis oils for qualifying patients. Thankfully, the legislature was revisited in the following years, once in 2017 through House Bill 524, which gave the MCP its status of legitimacy, and again in 2020 through House Bill 2589. 

Being the most recent version of Iowa’s medical marijuana law, it entered into effect on July 1st, 2020, following its signing at the end of June. Among its other positive modifications, the revision significantly lengthened the list of qualifying conditions, with chronic pain and PTSD as two major additions for patients all around the state. 

Currently, Iowa’s Medical Cannabidiol Program remains in a fully functioning state, yet it does so in a rather restricted manner, as opposed to the MMPs of some of its more open-minded neighbors, such as Illinois. For one, Iowa medical marijuana laws indicate that dispensaries are allowed to provide only cannabis preparations, not actual raw hemp flower smokable products or CBD-infused edibles. Moreover, access to THC-based medication is limited to a maximum 90-day supply capped at 4.5 grams, a quantity that is oftentimes insufficient for most of Iowa’s medical cannabis patients.

Iowa Medical Cannabis Laws

As a patient dealing with medical marijuana products  in your day-to-day life, you ought to be aware of what you can and cannot do as a medical marijuana card-holder in Iowa:

  • Your patient status provides you with access to a 90-day supply of THC-compound marijuana, which is soft-capped at 4.5 grams and can be extended based on your specific condition. There is no legal reason for you to possess any marijuana beyond your explicitly set limit.
  • The only authorized locations for marijuana-related purchases are state-approved dispensaries. Personal sales are highly prohibited by the court of law and you should NOT engage with them in any way, shape, or form.
  • Your patient status does NOT give you the right to grow cannabis plants under any circumstance. Any and all medical cannabis you intend to use needs to be acquired through legal purchase from a licensed dispensary. 
  • If your prescription includes hashish-based products OR any other type of marijuana concentrate, know that the regulations remain the same. Because of their legal treatment as a Schedule I Drug identical to marijuana, the Iowa code for possession of a controlled substance is in full effect. 
  • Marijuana paraphernalia (such as bongs, tobacco blunts, and rolling paper) is NOT necessary for any type of marijuana treatment. You have no legal excuse for possessing such an item, or, similar to cultivation, to be using it in order to create your own medication.

Where to Get Medical Cannabis In Iowa: Dispensaries

Patients with a valid Iowa medical marijuana card can get medical cannabis from state-authorized dispensaries. Patients should bring a form of photo ID (IA ID or driver’s license) plus their medical marijuana card to the dispensary when getting their medicine.

Also important, cannabis products in Iowa marijuana dispensaries are limited to:

  • Oral forms: Capsules, tinctures, pills, liquids, and sublingual forms.
  • Topical forms: Transdermal patches, lotions, gels, ointments, and creams.
  • Nebulizable inhaled forms
  • Suppositories: Both vaginal and rectal
  • Vaporization 

Iowa currently has 5 dispensary locations across its state borders, with notable locations including Sioux City, Waterloo, and Windsor Heights.

For a full account of the registered dispensaries in Iowa, check out the IDPH’s official list of licensed marijuana establishments.

Common Questions About the Medical Cannabidiol Program in Iowa

Below are the answers to questions patients have about the Medical Cannabidiol Program in Iowa: