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Iowa Marijuana Laws

From possession limits to cultivation and everything in between, here’s what to know about Iowa’s marijuana laws. 

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So, is marijuana legal in Iowa?
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Is weed legal in Iowa? Marijuana laws in Iowa have been changing rapidly over the past several years, which can be confusing for residents. While marijuana remains illegal for recreational use, products derived from hemp are legal. 

The state also has a medical marijuana program for people with serious chronic health conditions. Here’s everything you need to know about marijuana laws in Iowa. 

Right now, marijuana is illegal for recreational use in Iowa. Those who are caught using marijuana without a medical card could face harsh legal and financial penalties. 

However, cannabis is medically legal in Iowa for those with qualifying conditions. 

Legalization of Medical Marijuana

Iowa initially launched a medical marijuana program in 2014. At the time, the program only allowed patients to use hemp oil with less than 3 percent THC content, and it was only available for pediatric epilepsy. 

Iowa expanded the program further in 2017 to cover several other chronic health conditions. 

In 2020, Iowa voted to increase the amount of THC medical marijuana patients could purchase. Medical cardholders can now purchase up to 4.5 grams of THC in a 90 day period. The program was also expanded to make medical marijuana more accessible throughout the state to patients who need it. 

Iowa Medical Marijuana Possession Limits

Iowa marijuana laws allow medical cardholders to purchase 4.5 grams of marijuana in a 90-day period. This is very low when compared to medical marijuana programs in other states. Even with a medical card in Iowa, you could still face legal consequences for having more than 4.5 grams of marijuana. 

Cannabis groups in Iowa have advocated for higher possession of marijuana in Iowa, and it’s possible we could see this increase in the future. A bill in 2019 would have allowed patients to purchase up to 25 grams of THC in the same 90-day time frame, but this was unfortunately vetoed by state leadership. 

On the recreational level, Iowa drug possession laws are very strict. Possessing even a small amount of marijuana could result in a misdemeanor charge. There have been several attempts to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in the past, but none have been successful thus far. 

Marijuana Cultivation Laws in Iowa

If you use marijuana regularly for medical purposes in Iowa, you may be wondering if you can grow your own plants at home. There has been a lot of interest in home growing in recent years, as it can help save money and give you more control over your plants. 

Unfortunately, growing your own marijuana in Iowa is not allowed, even with a medical marijuana card. Iowa marijuana laws remain very strict and do not have any leniency for cultivation. 

If you are caught growing marijuana, you could face a penalty of up to $750 per plant. Additionally, you could face misdemeanor charges due to the strictness of Iowa’s laws. 

For several years, Iowa only had one licensed marijuana grower. While there are more growing licenses available now, Iowa still doesn’t have as many marijuana growers as its neighboring states. Iowa does have a larger program that provides hemp licenses for state farmers. However, these grow licenses only cover marijuana growth, not hemp growth. 

Who is Allowed to Grow Marijuana? 

You can only grow marijuana in Iowa if you have a license to do so from the state government. These licenses are typically only given to established farmers and marijuana companies for commercial growth. They are not available to individual consumers. 

If you are caught growing marijuana in Iowa, it could result in legal consequences. In addition to fines, you could face jail time, especially if you are caught growing a large amount of plants or have the intent to distribute. 

The court will consider the number of plants you have as well as where they were grown when determining legal consequences. For example, growing plants near schools or other government buildings typically results in more severe consequences. 

Can I Grow Marijuana at Home? 

Even though medical marijuana is legal in Iowa, you cannot grow plants at home here. All marijuana must be purchased from a licensed dispensary, and there are only a few commercial growers that are licensed to cultivate marijuana here. 

When compared to other states in the midwest, Iowa has very strict grow laws. Many other states allow medical marijuana cardholders or even recreational users to grow their own plants at home as long as they are in a secure area. 

While marijuana advocates in Iowa have pushed for more permissive grow laws, the state still has a very long way to go in terms of marijuana inclusivity. 

The penalties for growing your own marijuana without a license in Iowa are very strict. Offenders face both prison time and financial penalties. These penalties can range from 5 years in prison and fines starting at $750 for growing less than 50 kg of marijuana, all the way up to 50 years in prison and fines of over $1 million for growing over 1,000 kg of marijuana. 

Medical Marijuana Reciprocity Laws

If you frequently travel back and forth between different states, you may be wondering whether or not Iowa has medical marijuana reciprocity. 

Medical marijuana reciprocity is when a state government accepts medical marijuana cards from another state. Medical marijuana reciprocity laws vary widely depending on where you are in the country. 

Some states accept any medical cards, some only accept medical cards from neighboring states, and some only accept their own medical cards. 

Iowa does not currently have any medical marijuana reciprocity, which means that out-of-state medical cardholders cannot currently visit Iowa dispensaries. 

However, out-of-state cardholders can possess marijuana products that fall into Iowa’s guidelines – i.e., consuming 4.5 grams of marijuana in a 90-day period. This means they can bring their own marijuana products on trips to Iowa. 

There are some other states that do accept Iowa medical marijuana cards. These include Arizona, Arkansas, Maine, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Utah. There are also several states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. 

This means that anyone over the age of 21 can visit a dispensary there, regardless of their medical status. One example of a state like this is Illinois, which borders Iowa. 

How To Get A Medical Card in Iowa

If you have a qualifying medical condition, there are steps you can take to get a medical marijuana card in Iowa. The first step is to visit a local healthcare provider who can verify that  you meet the qualifying requirements. 

Iowa currently provides medical marijuana prescriptions for 17 different medical conditions. It’s important to make sure that your medical provider is licensed and willing to provide medical marijuana recommendations, as not every doctor is. 

Before your appointment, you will need to access the medical marijuana application form from the Iowa state government. If you suspect that you may need a higher marijuana amount than the state currently allows to manage your condition, there is also a waiver available for that. 

If you get your medical marijuana card through a service like Elevate Holistics, your doctor will be able to help you through the online application process and answer any questions you may have. 

Once your medical provider has signed the application, you will need to go online and complete it. The online application form is fairly simple – you will need to provide some basic personal information and provide proof of residency. 

You will also need to pay a fee, which is $100 for most patients. Iowa does offer a reduced application fee of $25 for patients who can prove financial hardship. 

Once you have submitted your application, the state will review it and let you know if you have been approved. Patients who apply online are often approved within just a few days. 

After you have been approved, you will be able to pick up your medical marijuana card from your local DMV or courthouse. Then you will be able to visit your local dispensary and pick up the products you need. 

Medical marijuana cards in Iowa need to be renewed once per year. The process of renewing your medical marijuana card is very similar to the initial application. 

You can renew online using secure medical providers like Elevate Holistics to make the process quicker and easier. 

Book your online appointment below and get your Iowa medical cannabis recommendation in minutes. 

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