What is the Iowa Medical Cannabis Program?
The Iowa Medical Cannabis Program provides state residents, with certain debilitating conditions, legal access to medical marijuana treatment. It is managed by the Bureau of Cannabis Regulation under the state's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Iowa Medical Cannabis Program authorizes the legal manufacture of medical marijuana products and sale to cannabis patients with state-issued medical cannabidiol registration cards (medical marijuana cards) and their caregivers.
The passage of the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Act in 2017 birthed the state's Medical Cannabis Program. Licensed medical cannabis dispensaries in the state started selling medical cannabidiol products to registered patients and caregivers in December 2018. The Iowa Medical Cannabis Program allows caregivers to enroll and assist patients in picking up cannabidiol products from licensed dispensaries.
How Old to Join the Iowa Medical Cannabis Program?
Adults aged 18 years or older and minors (under 18) with qualifying medical conditions can join the Iowa Medical Cannabis Program. However, patients who are minors need their parents or legal guardians, who in most cases are the patients' caregivers, to apply on their behalf.
Iowa Medical Cannabis Program Qualifying Conditions
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Cancer, if the condition or its treatment causes nausea, chronic pain, or cachexia (severe wasting)
- Chronic pain
- Parkinson's disease
- Severe autism with aggressive or self-injurious behaviors
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Crohn's disease
- Corticobasal degeneration
- Ulcerative colitis
- Intractable pediatric autism with aggressive or self-injurious behaviors
- Multiple sclerosis with persistent and severe muscle spasms
- Any terminal illness with a probable life expectancy of less than one year if the ailment or its treatment causes cachexia, severe pain, or severe vomiting
What Practitioners are Eligible to Recommend the Use of Medical Cannabis?
- Medical Doctors (MDs)
- Doctors of Osteopathy (DOs)
- Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARPNs)
- Physician Assistants (PAs)
- Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs)
Must a Practitioner Obtain a License Before Issuing a Medical Card Recommendation?
Yes. Only healthcare practitioners licensed to practice medicine and surgery or osteopathic medicine and surgery in the state can recommend qualifying patients for Iowa medical cannabidiol registration cards.
Do Physicians Need to Manage Patients Before Recommending Them for the Iowa Medical Cannabis Program?
Yes. A healthcare practitioner must have been involved in a qualifying patient's care with a bona fide provider-patient relationship before certifying them for the Iowa Medical Cannabis Program.
Do Physicians Have to Join the State’s Medical Marijuana Program/Registry to Recommend Medical Marijuana to Patients?
No, state-licensed healthcare practitioners are not required to join the Iowa Medical Cannabis Program to certify patients for medical cannabis.
Can an Iowa Medical Cannabis Program Practitioner Use Telemedicine for Patient Assessment?
Currently, healthcare practitioners certifying eligible patients for medical marijuana use in Iowa are not permitted to assess patients via telemedicine. Qualifying medical cannabis patients must visit their Iowa Medical Cannabis Program physicians in person for evaluation.
How to Find Iowa Medical Cannabis Program Doctors
The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services has no official database of medical providers certifying patients for medical cannabis use. Generally, patients' healthcare practitioners licensed to practice medicine and surgery in the state with whom they have patient-physician relationships can certify them for medical cannabis use.
How to Apply for the Iowa Medical Cannabis Program
- Schedule an appointment with an Iowa-licensed medical provider for medical consultation
- Download a Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form and a Patient Information Sheet. Bring both to the consultation on the appointed date
- After the medical provider has signed the Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form, apply to join the Iowa Medical Cannabis Program using the state-approved Online Patient Registration Form
- Provide necessary information and upload all required documents while filling out the online form
- The Medical Cannabis Program will review the application after submission. If approved, the applicant will receive a temporary medical cannabidiol registration card via email, and then a permanent card will be mailed to their address later
- A patient can contact the Iowa Medical Cannabis Program at (515) 725-2076 or by email if unable to apply online. They can also contact the HHS for further inquiries on how to join the Iowa Medical Cannabis Program at:
Bureau of Cannabis Regulation
Iowa Department of Health and Human Services
Lucas State Office Building
312 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319