Iowa Cannabis Facts

Updated on June 22, 2020.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Iowa Medical Marijuana Facts

Advocates for sensible marijuana use lament one of the more troubling medical marijuana facts for Iowa: Only a small percentage of people in the state suffering from serious diseases have access to cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Only people who have severe epileptic seizures can legally possess CBD oil. Up until May 2017, it was illegal to produce or sell cannabis products in the state of Iowa. However, House File 524 will allow the Department of Public Health to start approving companies who will produce and sell cannabis products with less than 3% THC.

Marijuana Facts for Iowa

  • Iowa State law classifies marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, registering it as a drug that has a high potential for abuse and no accepted medicinal values.
  • Marijuana in the state of Iowa is the most used illicit drug, though a vast majority of residents do not use it. Nearly six percent of Iowa sixth, eighth and eleventh graders and nearly four-and-a-half percent of Iowans age twelve and older currently use marijuana.
  • The proportion of Iowa adults entering substance treatment primarily due to marijuana use has reached its highest point in nearly twenty years at a whopping 22.8%.
  • The Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy in Iowa supports additional research into the cannabis plant’s many components, but greatly opposes marijuana legalization in any circumstance. This is largely in part due to the supposed negative health effects, safety and economic effects that it would have on Iowans.
  • One of the most discouraging Iowa marijuana facts is the penalties for possession are extremely harsh compared to many other parts of the country. Simply being caught with a joint could result in a jail sentence as long as six months and a fine of as much as $1,000. This is one of the toughest penalties for a first offense in the United States.
  • Anyone charged with a second offense of pot possession will face up to a year in prison and a fine of as much as $1,875. A third offense carries penalties of up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $6,250. If an offender is considered a “chronic abuser” of weed, he or she could be sent to a rehabilitation program.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union reports Black people in Iowa are eight times more likely to be arrested for possessing weed than white people.
  • Even though the legislation was introduced in 2015 to reduce the penalties for pot possession, the House failed to even consider the bill. It would have reduced the maximum sentence for possession of up to five ounces of weed to 30 days.
  • The Iowa medical marijuana program was set to expire on July 1, 2017 unless the legislature acted to extend it. The Sioux City Journal published an editorial advocating for not only an extension of the program but an expansion as well. If the legislature fails to act, there will be no access whatsoever to cannabis for people suffering from epileptic seizures. The editorial also urged the legislature to consider allowing in-state distribution and production of CBD oil.
  • Cultivating or distributing 50 kilograms or fewer of weed is considered a class D felony. This carries penalties of up to five years in jail and a fine of as much as $7,500. will continue to provide updates on medical marijuana facts for Iowa and the rest of the United States on a regular basis, so check back with us often.

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