2021 Guide: Applying For Medical Marijuana in Iowa

Iowans may qualify for medical marijuana use. First, they must obtain a medical marijuana card. Getting a card in the state requires meeting specific conditions. To find out more, check out our comprehensive guide.
State Program
Approved on
May 12, 2017
Online Application
MD Evaluation
Card Validity
Patient Registry fee
(515) 281-7689
Official Gov Site:

The headline ‘medical marijuana in Iowa is now legal’ is sadly extremely misleading. In reality, legislation in Iowa is restrictive to the point where it doesn’t have an MMJ program at all. There is a similar process in getting a medical marijuana card as in other states, but you don’t get the same product.

House File 524, which is an Act establishing rules and regulations on “Medical Cannabidiol,” was proposed in 2014. It didn’t progress before a specific deadline and was subsequently rejected. In the same year, Senate Bill 2360 did make it into law.

Known as the Medical Cannabidiol Act, Senate Bill 2360 allowed CBD oil with a neurologist’s recommendation.

It was also only available to children with intractable epilepsy. Furthermore, it contained no provision for legally obtaining the cannabinoid. However, Governor Terry Branstad signed an expanded version of the act into law in May 2017. It expanded the number of qualifying conditions, which we outline later in this guide.

The state of Iowa doesn’t even include the word “marijuana” in its legal applications. Instead, it refers to the program as “Medical Cannabidiol.” Cannabidiol, aka CBD, is a non-intoxicating substance in cannabis and hemp that provides medical benefits without getting users high.

It took the state nearly a year to organize and prepare for the production and sale of low-THC products. In March 2018, it announced that five licensed dispensaries would sell cannabis in Iowa. In this article, we explain everything that you need to know about medical marijuana in Iowa. This includes how to qualify, where you can get it, and the application process.

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How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Iowa

Although the program itself is restrictive, it isn’t difficult to apply. Please note that doctors are not required to submit a recommendation on their patient’s behalf. This is the case even if you are diagnosed with a qualifying condition. You can only apply if you are aged 18+.

  1. Download and print the Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form from the state’s official website.
  2. Visit your doctor or another licensed physician in Iowa. Ask them to fill out and submit the form on your behalf. During the consultation, the physician will ask questions about your condition. Make sure you have your medical records in order.
  3. Once you receive certification, you need to fill out the patient registration form here.
  4. If approved (you will be notified via email), go to an Iowa Driver License station (DMV) to get your ID card printed out.

In summation, your application must include:

  • A Healthcare Practitioner Certification signed by a licensed doctor.
  • A completed Adult Patient Application.
  • A copy of your photo I.D. You can use a valid Iowa driver’s license or a valid Iowa non-operator’s ID card.
  • Full payment.

Initially, you had to mail the application to the Iowa Department of Public Health. However, you can now apply online. It takes approximately 2-4 weeks to get your card in the mail.

What Are the Iowa Medical Marijuana Costs?

It costs $100 to apply for the MMJ card in Iowa. However, certain applicants are eligible for a reduced fee of $25. You can apply for this discount if you can provide a copy of one of the following documents:

  • Social Security Disability Benefit Notice (SSDI)
  • Proof of receipt of Supplemental Security Income Payment (SSI)
  • Iowa Medicaid Member Card
  • Hawk-I member card

Your card is valid for a year. To reapply, you have to go through the same process and pay the same fee. The average cost of a doctor’s consultation in Iowa is approximately $200.

What Conditions Qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card in Iowa?

A licensed physician must diagnose you with one of the following:

  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Seizures
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Untreatable pain
  • Terminal illness (that produces severe or chronic pain, nausea, or severe wasting)

iowa medical marijuana

Other Information on the Iowa Medical Marijuana License Process

Here is some further information on the MMJ Program in Iowa:

What Kind of Cannabis Can I Buy?

Unfortunately, registered patients can only purchase weed with a THC content of 3% or less. Iowa MMJ patients are also not permitted to buy the traditional ‘flower’ form of marijuana. Instead, they can get:

The low THC content means patients won’t get high off their weed.

Where Can I Purchase MMJ in Iowa?

MedPharm is currently the only approved/licensed cannabis grower in the state. There were five licensed dispensaries in Iowa at the beginning. However, two of the five have since closed their doors. Now, patients can only access their MMJ from these three dispensaries:

  • Sioux City // MedPharm Iowa | 5700 Sunnybrook Dr.
  • Waterloo // Iowa Cannabis Company | 1955 La Porte Rd.
  • Windsor Heights // MedPharm Iowa | 7229 Apple Valley Dr.

How Much Cannabis Can I Buy & Possess?

At present, information on limitations is not clear. However, there is support for a new bill that would limit THC consumption to 4.5 grams every 90 days. If it passes, it will ensure patients can’t use more than 15,000mg (or 150 grams) of a 3% THC product across three months.

Is It Easy to Find a Licensed ‘Cannabis Friendly’ Doctor?

Not really! Though the number of qualifying conditions has increased, the authorities are fairly restrictive. Several local publications in Iowa suggest that relatively few physicians are willing to help patients. After all, they are under no obligation to do so.

Can I Grow Cannabis in Iowa?

The short answer is ‘no.’ There are also no plans to allow MMJ patients to do so in the near future. Though the law suggests that CBD oil is legal, there is no indication that cultivating low-THC hemp at home is allowed either.

Are Products Tested?

Yes. According to state law, laboratories must establish and implement methods of testing. They must also develop standard operating procedures for analyzing residual solvents, cannabinoids, processing chemicals, and more. Each lab must test for:

  • CBD
  • THC
  • THCA
  • CBDA
  • CBG
  • CBN

This is the bare minimum.

Can I Assign a Caregiver?

Yes. However, you need to choose someone aged 18+, and they must complete a separate caregiver’s application form. There is a $25 caregiver fee.

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