Yes, cannabis cultivation is legal in Linn County under Iowa Code Chapter 124E of 2017 and Iowa Administrative Code 641-154 but restricted to medical use only. The State of Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Medical Cannabidiol (OMC) manages the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Program.
For a company to cultivate cannabis commercially, it must apply for a medical cannabidiol manufacturer license from the Iowa HHS. The license authorizes the holder to cultivate medical cannabis and manufacture medical cannabis products from its crops. The company owner and all employees are subject to a criminal background check during the application process. The application fee is $7,500 and is non-refundable.
Licensed medical cannabidiol manufacturer facilities must be located at the registered address. It must be more than 1,000 feet away from any existing private or public school. It cannot share the same premises with a licensed medical cannabidiol dispensary or a health care practitioner.
The licensed medical cannabidiol manufacturer facility must be completely enclosed and locked. It must be protected against unauthorized access and theft by strict security measures. This must include, at the minimum, an employee identification system, a security system that detects perimeter intrusion and has alarms, and building access controls. There must be strict inventory control and accurate recordkeeping.
The licensed medical cannabidiol manufacturer facility is subject to HHS inspection. It must pay for an independent laboratory to do random checks on its medical cannabis plants and products to ensure that these are uncontaminated, consistent, and have the allowed content. Unless the licensee uses the University of Iowa laboratory, the testing laboratory must first be approved by the HHS.
Medical cannabis use and consumption are not allowed on the premises of licensed medical cannabidiol manufacturer facilities. The licensee must comply with all HSS restrictions on facility signage, displays, advertising, and marketing.
Yes, cannabis manufacturing is legal in Linn County, but Iowa Code Chapter 124E of 2017 and Iowa Administrative Code 641-154 restrict this to medical cannabis products only.
For a company to manufacture cannabis commercially, it must also apply with the Iowa HHS but for a medical cannabidiol manufacturer license. The license holder is authorized to manufacture medical cannabis products from the medical cannabis it cultivates. The requirements for application and the regulations that must be complied with by licensed manufacturers are the same as those for licensed cultivators.
In addition, the licensed manufacturer must ensure that all its medical cannabis products are labeled with accurate information listing the active ingredients contained. Receptacles must comply with federal laws on child-safe packaging and packaging for use of elderly patients.
Yes, the retail sale of cannabis is legal in Linn County but, pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 124E of 2017 and Iowa Administrative Code 641-154, only medical cannabis and medical cannabis products can be sold to patients and caregivers registered in the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Program and holders of its medical marijuana card.
For a company to sell medical cannabis by retail, it must apply for a medical cannabidiol dispensary license also from the Iowa HHS. The application requirements and the regulations that must be complied with by licensed dispensaries are the same as those for licensed cultivators and manufacturers. However, the application fee for a medical cannabidiol dispensary license is $5,000.
In addition, a licensed medical cannabidiol dispensary is required to hire a licensed pharmacist or licensed pharmacy technician. Before every purchase, the licensed dispensary staff must do the following:
Verify if the patient or caregiver holds a valid medical marijuana card.
Verify the patient’s or caregiver’s identity against the medical marijuana card.
Verify the medical marijuana card against the online Medical Cannabidiol Program registry.
Attach a label to each medical cannabis item that includes the following:
A unique tracking number for each medical cannabis item
The licensed dispensary’s name and address
The patient’s name, registry identification number, birth date, and address
Instructions on the usage of the medical cannabis item
Within the same business day as each purchase, the licensed medical cannabidiol dispensary must log the following information in the sales and inventory tracking system:
The patient’s or caregiver’s name
The tracking number or numbers of the medical cannabis purchased
The quantity of medical cannabis purchased
The price of the medical cannabis purchased
The date and time of the purchase
There is a limit of 4.5 grams of medical cannabis that can be purchased for a patient every 90 days. If the physician determines that the patient’s medical condition needs more, or if the patient has a terminal illness with less than a year of life expectancy, the physician must provide the patient with a waiver form. The physician must also specify a new 90-day limit for the patient.
Smokable and edible food forms of medical cannabis are prohibited for sale and use, even for patients and caregivers who are medical marijuana cardholders. Licensed dispensaries can sell all other forms of medical cannabis, such as medical cannabis for vaporization, medical cannabis for nebulization, tinctures, liquids, sublingual formulations, capsules, tablets, suppositories, transdermal patches, and topical preparations.
No, medical cannabis delivery by licensed dispensaries is not legal in Linn County even to patients and caregivers who are medical marijuana cardholders, in compliance with Iowa Code Chapter 124E of 2017 and Iowa Administrative Code 641-154.
The transport of medical cannabis is only allowed between licensed cultivators, manufacturers, and dispensaries.
For a patient to get a medical marijuana card, the Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form and Patient Information Sheet must be downloaded and printed. These must be taken to any of the following healthcare practitioners:
A Doctor of Medicine (MD)
A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)
A Physician Assistant (PA)
An Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP)
The certification form will be signed by the healthcare practitioner if the patient is diagnosed to have any of the following medical conditions:
Cancer with any of the following:
severe wasting or cachexia
severe vomiting or nausea
chronic or severe pain
Severe and persistent muscle spasms from multiple sclerosis
AIDS or HIV
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Severe intractable autism with aggressive or self-injurious behavior
A terminal illness with less than one year of life expectancy and the following:
severe or chronic pain
nausea or severe vomiting
cachexia or severe wasting
The patient must then go to the patient registration page online and complete the Adult Patient Application form. Scanned copies or digital photos of the signed Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form and the patient's valid photo ID must be submitted online, along with the $100 fee. The fee is reduced to $25 if the patient can scan and upload one of the following:
Social Security Disability Benefit notice (SSDI notice)
Proof of receipt of Supplemental Security Income Payment (SSI receipt)
Iowa Medicaid member card
Copy of Hawk-I member card
If an adult patient requires a caregiver, the patient must first complete the application and then provide the application number they will receive by email to the designated caregiver. The caregiver must then register online through the separate caregiver application portal.
If the patient is a minor, only caregiver registration is required. It is the caregiver who must upload the patient’s signed Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form. The same requirements apply. The caregiver application fee is $25.
Patients and caregivers who submitted an email address will be sent a temporary medical marijuana card by email. This may be printed and used temporarily. The actual medical marijuana card will be sent by mail. Applicants who did not submit an email address will have to wait for the actual medical marijuana card to arrive by post.
Those who do not have online access or who need further information may contact the following:
Sales of medical cannabis have been increasing statewide in Iowa. In January 2020, cumulative sales of medical cannabis by licensed dispensaries statewide were about $262,000. In July 2022, total sales excluding taxes of medical cannabis by licensed dispensaries statewide were over $940,000.
Medical cannabis was legalized in Iowa in 2017. According to data from the Linn County Sheriff's Office on the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer page, in 2016, there were 83 arrests related to marijuana offenses, of which 80 were for marijuana possession, and three were for marijuana manufacturing or sales. In 2021, this decreased to 38 arrests related to marijuana offenses, of which 37 were for marijuana possession, and one was for marijuana manufacturing or sales.
There were 168 DUI arrests in 2016. This decreased to 82 DUI arrests in 2021.