Consequences of Getting a Medical Card in Iowa

  1. Iowa Cannabis
  2. Iowa Medical Marijuana Card
  3. Consequences of Having a MMJ Card in Iowa

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Benefits of Having a Medical Cannabidiol Registration Card in Iowa

Having an Iowa medical cannabidiol registration card comes with various advantages, including the following:

Legal Protection

Iowa medical cannabidiol cardholders are protected from legal prosecution for possessing or purchasing marijuana. Per Section 124E.12(4a) of the Medical Cannabidiol Act, it is an affirmative defense to the prosecution that a patient charged with possession of marijuana has a valid medical cannabidiol registration card. It is unlawful for persons without medical cannabidiol registration cards to possess marijuana in Iowa. The penalty for illegal possession includes a jail term of up to 2 years, fines of up to $8,540, and mandatory attendance of rehabilitation programs.

It is not mandatory for medical cannabidiol cardholders to always carry their cards around. However, to receive cannabis prescriptions, patients must present their cards alongside state-issued identification cards.

Access for Minors

In Iowa, medical cannabidiol is not restricted to adult patients only. Persons under the age of 18, with qualifying medical conditions, can also obtain medical cannabis after registering with the state medical cannabidiol program through approved caregivers.


Iowa medical cannabidiol cardholders can continue to use medical marijuana when they travel to other states. Cardholders can fill their medical cannabidiol prescriptions in Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Washington D.C. Iowa medical cannabidiol patients visiting Utah and New Hampshire can obtain and use cannabis. However, their qualifying medical condition must be on the state's approved list of qualifying medical conditions.

Downsides of Getting a Medical Cannabidiol Registration Card in Iowa

The following are the drawbacks of getting medical cannabidiol registration cards in Iowa:

Firearm Prohibition

While Iowa gun law does not explicitly address medical cannabidiol cardholders and gun ownership, the state is a shall-use state and defers to federal laws on firearms possession. Therefore, anyone who legally passes the requirements of federal law can procure firearms. Although medical cannabis is legal in Iowa, its legality is not recognized by federal laws. Marijuana remains a Schedule I Controlled Substance&f=treesort&num=0&edition=prelim), and the Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits users of controlled substances from possessing firearms. Therefore, having Iowa medical cannabidiol cards does not guarantee the cardholders’ protection under federal law.

Driving Restrictions

It is unlawful to drive under the influence (DUI) of a controlled substance, including medical cannabidiol, in Iowa. Iowa law does not specify an allowable legal marijuana blood limit, but having a cannabidiol card does not protect a person from prosecution if convicted of a DUI offense. Nevertheless, Section 321J.2(1c) of the Iowa Code provides that a person commits an offense if they operate a motor vehicle with any amount of controlled substance present in their blood or urine. The penalties for drugged driving in Iowa include incarceration for 48 hours to 5 years, fines ranging from $625 to $9,375, and revocation of driver’s license for between 180 days and 6 years. The court may also impose a mandatory attendance of a substance abuse treatment program.

Medical cannabidiol patients in Iowa cannot obtain a commercial driving license (CDL). CDL holders are subject to federal regulations, including rules established by the Department of Transport (DOT). The DOT Drug and Alcohol Regulation prohibits medical cannabis use for commercial drivers. Medical cannabidiol users in Iowa can lose their CDL licenses and jobs if they test positive for marijuana.

Annual Renewal

Medical cannabidiol registration cards are valid for 1 year in Iowa. Therefore, cardholders who wish to continue purchasing medical cannabis must submit renewal applications and pay the required fees to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. Although renewing Iowa medical cannabidiol registration cards is made online, patients must still visit licensed healthcare practitioners to have their conditions recertified before the renewal process, making it a bit of a burden. However, patients may book telemedicine appointments to make the recertification process easier. The cost of consulting with healthcare practitioners in Iowa for recertification ranges from $99 to $199, depending on the practitioner's area of specialization and years of expertise.

It costs $100 to renew medical cannabidiol registration cards in Iowa. However, there is a reduced application fee of $25 for patients who can show proof of:

  • Receiving Social Security disability benefits
  • Veteran status
  • Receiving supplemental security payments or
  • Enrollment in a medical assistance program

Employment Restrictions

Although medical cannabidiol is legal in Iowa, there are no laws protecting medical cannabis users in the workplace. Employers are not mandated to accommodate medical cannabidiol users. Iowa’s drug testing law permits employers to test job seekers and employees for cannabis. Where a test result is positive, the law permits employers to refuse to hire the candidate or terminate the employee’s appointment. In addition, employers can implement policies restricting marijuana use by employees, including a drug-free workplace policy and the prohibition of consumption, display, and possession of cannabis within their premises.

Although no state law protects medical cannabidiol users in Iowa, their medical cannabidiol cards will not show up on a background check in Iowa. All information related to patients' medical records is private and protected from the public by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Patients' medical cannabidiol registration cards are not in the public domain and will not be picked up during background checks.

Federal Prohibitions

Federal law considers marijuana a controlled substance and prohibits its possession and use, irrespective of whether medical cannabis is legal in the state. Therefore, federal employees cannot be medical cannabidiol cardholders in Iowa. In addition, medical cannabidiol cardholders cannot apply for federal appointments.

While federal employees may obtain medical cannabidiol registration cards in Iowa, cardholders must refrain from using cannabis at the workplace. In addition, cardholders who are federal employees must not test positive for cannabis, as this would lead to disciplinary matters. Also, medical cannabidiol cardholders who live in federally subsidized housing in the state are prohibited from using marijuana on the premises of such houses.

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