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Getting a Medical Card in Iowa

Getting a Medical Marijuana Prescription in IA

The Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Program remains one of the most restrictive in the United States. Medical cannabis is not legalized in Iowa, but patients may be approved for specific ratios of CBD: THC depending on the severity of symptoms. And only by doctor recommendation.

Medical Marijuana in Iowa (2021 Update)

Unlike many other states, Iowa is very concerned about getting on the wrong side of federal law regarding cannabis. So much so that the state asked for special permission from the DEA regarding the Iowa medical cannabis program. 

House File 2589 was signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds. In the legislation, it stated that:

“The department of public health shall request guarantees from the agencies of the federal government providing funding to educational and long-term care facilities that facilities with policies allowing patients to possess medical cannabidiol on the grounds of the facilities consistent with chapter 124E or allowing facility staff to administer medical cannabidiol to a patient shall not lose eligibility for any federal funding due to such policies.”

The purpose is to ensure that federal funding will not be jeopardized as a result of legalizing medical cannabis in the state. In 2020, the DEA rejected the request from the state of Iowa. 


Who qualifies for medical marijuana in Iowa?

Medical cannabis is not currently legal in the state of Iowa. Patients only have access to CBD and low-THC preparations in specific ratios. To be prescribed the CBD/THC ratio products for medicinal use, a patient must have one (or more than one) of the state-mandated qualifying health conditions. 

To be eligible for cannabidiol (CBD) and low-THC ratio preparations, a patient must have been diagnosed with:

  • Chronic Pain
  • HIV/AIDs
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Nausea and Severe Vomiting 
  • Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome)
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Corticobasal Degeneration
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Severe and Persistent Muscle Spasms 
  • Seizure Disorders
  • Terminal Illness
  • Intractable Autism With Self Injurious or Aggressive Behaviors

The health practitioner is responsible for ordering the correct ratio of CBD and low-THC for the patient. Patients are provided with up to 90-days of medicinal CBD products. 

Patients in the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Program may only possess up to 4.5 grams of total THC in their CBD ratio products or face legal prosecution. If the physician feels the patient requires more than that amount, a “Waiver for Increasing the Amount of ‘THC per 90 Days’ for a Certified Patient” can be submitted from the practitioner. 

What Medical Marijuanas are Available in IA?

Medical cannabis is not currently legal in Iowa. And there are no dispensaries to serve patients However, preparations of CBD: THC ratios can be accessed by patients who are authorized by medical doctors.

The current CBD to THC ratios approved for patient care is 20:1, 2:1, 1:1, and 1:20. Despite CBD preparations offered to patients for therapeutic use, whole flower or smokable CBD still remains illegal in Iowa.

Patients can access the approved or prescribed ratios of CBD to THC through a variety of different intake methods. The Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Program allows patients to receive the CBD/THC ratio in one of the following product forms:

  • Vape
  • Nebulizer (mask and inhaled liquid)
  • Oral capsules
  • Oral liquids 
  • Tinctures (sublingual uptake)
  • Capsules and tablets
  • CBD and THC ratio suppositories 
  • Topical creams, lotions, and gels 
  • Transdermal patches

There are no current laws that indicate a ban on consuming cannabidiol and low-THC ratio products in public. However, vape and nebulizer rigs are illegal to use anywhere that smoking has been prohibited.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Get an Iowa Medical Card?

Iowa Code Chapter 124E of the Medical Cannabidiol Act in Iowa requires that patients must be eighteen (18) years of age or older. Patients must also have a physician confirmed qualifying health condition to be eligible. 

Do I need to create my MMJ patient profile?

Yes. The current Iowa Medical Cannabidiol card can be applied online, using a smartphone or computer. After a patient has received the certification of the qualifying health condition from the physician, they may apply for the card online

Pictures of photo identification and the Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form (doctor referral) will be required to complete the application. 

Can I register my child for medical marijuana?

Yes. A healthcare practitioner form for the minor must be completed and signed by the patient’s healthcare provider. But no separate application for a minor is required, and there is no fee to register a little in the program.

How can I become a caregiver for MMJ in IA?

Caregivers are required to be registered, and there is a $25 fee for each caregiver. More than one caregiver can be designated for a minor registered with the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol program. 

Visit the website to learn more and to download the forms for registering a caregiver in Iowa. 

How do I renew my Iowa medical card?

The patient’s medical cannabidiol registration card expires one (1) year after being issued. But patients can renew their cards up to sixty (60) days before it expires. The patient has to submit a new Healthcare Practitioner Certification Program annually, provide the registration fee payment ($100) and submit it to the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol program.

What if I lose my medical card in IA?

Replacing your Iowa Cannabidiol card is easy. If your card has been lost, damaged, or stolen, you can log into your patient profile and print a new one. The new card will have a new ID number, so the old card will no longer be valid. 

Patients can also apply for another card or provide an update (change of address, etc.) by mail. You will have to complete the change form and wait for a new card to be issued. That can take up to thirty (30) days to receive by mail.

Where do you get medical marijuana in IA?

You can’t purchase medical marijuana in Iowa. Possession of less than 50 kilograms of cannabis is a Class D felony in the state. A Class D felony in Iowa carries up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 for a first offense charge. 

When did medical marijuana in IA become legal?

It is not currently legalized. In Iowa, patients in the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Program can only receive low-THC and CBD ratio products for medicinal use. However, the Iowa Cannabidiol Program started in 2014. The laws were amended in 2017 with HB 524 and again in 2019, with HF 2589.

The History of Medical Marijuana in Iowa

For a state known for having stringent laws about medical cannabis, few people know that Iowa has been trying to decriminalize since the 1970s. One day patients may be able to get their medical card in Iowa. But it may take a long time to change the laws in the state. 

April, 2014—Senate Bill 2360 was passed on April 23, 2014, with a vote of 36-12 in favor. This legalized the use and possession of cannabidiol with less than 3% THC for the treatment of epilepsy only. 

Patients with epilepsy were required to get a recommendation from a neurologist to receive the clinical-potency CBD. The Medical Cannabidiol Act did not become law until May 2014, when Gov. Terry Branstad signed it. 

Source Web 2021:

May, 2017—Gov. Terry Branstad signed an important expansion to the Medical Cannabidiol Act in Iowa. The amendment allowed patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), HIV, AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, Crohn’s Disease, and other health conditions to be eligible for medicinal-grade cannabidiol (CBD). 

Source Web 2021:



Iowa State Department of Public Health
Office Of Medical Cannabidiol
Lucas State Office Building
321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0075
Phone: (515) 725-2076
Website: Department Of Public Health: Office of Medical Cannabidiol
Contact Form: DPH: OMC


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