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MMJ

How To Get a Medical Marijuana Card In Iowa

Dr Abraham Benavides

MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY

Dr Abraham Benavides

Medical Doctor

In need of a Medical Marijuana Card in Iowa? This article’s for you!

We created this informative guide to assist you through the process. Here you’ll find out everything you need to know to get your IA medical card today.

Keep reading to learn more about Iowa’s medical marijuana program.

iowa medical cerrtificate

Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Program 

In 2017, the Medical Cannabidiol Act was approved, permitting the possession of medical marijuana in Iowa. However, the law didn’t allow qualifying patients to access cannabis.

Patients weren’t able to obtain MMJ until a year later, following a few legal revisions in 2017. In December 2018, Iowa medical cannabis dispensaries opened up to the public. This was the first time medical marijuana products were offered to patients in the state.

In 2019, the Act was revised again. These changes included expanding the list of qualifying conditions and removing the 0.3% THC cap on medical cannabis products.

Iowa’s Medical Marijuana program is officially known as the Medical Cannabidiol Program. It legalized the sale and manufacture of products that contain ratios of CBD and THC.

The program is currently run by the Office of Medical Cannabidiol (OMC), a sector of the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Patients with valid registry cards, and their caregivers, can only purchase products with 4.5 grams of total THC every 90 days. However, they’re allowed larger doses with a waiver.

Iowa boasts some of the most restrictive medical cannabis laws in the country. Home grown cannabis and raw flower are prohibited. And only one manufacturer is authorized in the entire state.

Since recreational marijuana remains illegal, the only legal way to access marijuana is to have a medical cannabis card.

IA medical card coverage

Iowa Medical Card Requirements 

To apply for a Medical Marijuana card, you must be a resident of the state of Iowa. You’ll need to be over 18 years old and have a completed Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form.

In sum, to qualify for the Iowa Medical Marijuana Program you must:

  • Be a legal resident of IA
  • Be over the age of 18 or have a caregiver over the age of 21
  • Have at least one of the qualifying medical conditions
  • Have a Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form (signed by your physician)
  • Have a valid government issued ID card
  • Pay the application fee
  • Proof of reduced fee (if applicable)

Acceptable Forms of ID

  • A valid Iowa state issued Driver’s License
  • A valid Iowa state issued Identification Card

Acceptable Proof of Reduced Fee

  • Medicaid Card
  • SSI award letter
  • Social Security disability award letter

Iowa Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions List 

You must have a specific health condition to be eligible for Iowa’s Medical Cannabidiol Program.

Here’s a list of the qualifying conditions per the state of Iowa:

  • AIDS or HIV
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Autism (severe or intractable autism with self injurious or aggressive behaviors)
  • Cancer with severe or chronic pain
  • Cancer with cachexia or severe wasting syndrome
  • Cancer with nausea or severe vomiting
  • Chronic pain
  • Corticobasal Degeneration
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple sclerosis (with persistent and severe muscle spasms)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Seizure disorders
  • Terminal illness with a probable life expectancy of under one year and severe or chronic pain / nausea or severe vomiting
  • Terminal illness with a probable life expectancy of under one year and severe or chronic pain, nausea or severe vomiting, or cachexia or severe wasting
  • Ulcerative colitis

Note: Patients that have a condition not included on the list of qualifying illnesses may still be eligible. You’ll need to fill out a Petition Form and submit it to the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Board.

What Can You Buy With A Medical Card In Iowa? 

A valid medical marijuana card gives you the ability to purchase and possess cannabis in Iowa.

Recreational marijuana is not legal. Even CBD flower is banned.

Iowa has a low-quantity THC medical program, permitting only 4.5 g of total THC every 90 days. Currently, cannabis flowers and edibles are not permitted.

But you can have increased purchase limits if your licensed physician recommends it. Qualifying patients who require more than 4.5 g of THC per 90 days must have their doctor fill out the 4.5 g THC Waiver Form on their behalf.

Note: the waiver requires registered patients to undergo an additional medical evaluation. This must be completed by the licensed physician who originally approved the patient for medical marijuana use. Individuals with terminal illnesses do not need a separate medical evaluation.

Unlike other states, medicinal cannabis in Iowa comes from one source: MedPharm Iowa. MMJ is available in 4 different CBD to THC ratios:

  • 1:1
  • 2:1
  • 20:1
  • 1:20

100% THC and 100% CBD medical marijuana is prohibited.

Iowa Medical Marijuana Product Types 

Raw medical cannabis flower is not available. Instead patients have access to the following types of medical cannabis products:

  • Oral forms – tablets, capsules, liquids, tinctures and sublingual forms
  • Topical forms – gels, ointments, creams, lotions and transdermal patches
  • Nebulized inhaled forms – soft mist devices
  • Suppositories – rectal and vaginal
  • Vaporizable – cartridges, vape pens

Medical cannabidiol is only sold at five licensed dispensaries in the state of Iowa. Check out the IDPH website to find a location near you.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Iowa

Ready to get your medical cannabis card?

First you’ll need to visit a board certified physician licensed to practice in Iowa. Your MMJ doctor will determine your eligibility.

If you qualify, you must obtain a medical cannabis recommendation. This can be done offline or online. Pro tip: online is much cheaper and easier!

Plus the most well established services have money back guarantees. So in case you’re not approved, it won’t cost you a thing.

To get a card with Iowa’s Medical Cannabidiol program, follow these three easy steps:

1. Consult With An Iowa Certified Healthcare Provider

You must see a healthcare provider licensed to practice medicine in Iowa. The visit can occur via telehealth or in person.

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Your medical marijuana doctor or licensed physician’s assistant will determine if you have at least one of the qualifying conditions. If they diagnose you with such, you’ll be eligible for a medical marijuana card.

2. Receive Your Medical Cannabidiol Certificate

Once the medical marijuana doctor has confirmed eligibility, they will issue you a Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form.

This certificate states that your physician has recommended you for medical cannabis in Iowa. Patients will need this form to apply for an MMJ registry card.

3. Finish The IA Medical Cannabis Application Online

You must complete a patient registration application on the Iowa Department of Public Health website.

This can be done online or on your mobile device.

The application fee is $100 unless you qualify for a reduced fee. In which case the fee is lowered to $25.

Next, the Office of Medical Cannabidiol will review your application.

If approved, you will be issued with a temporary card via email that’s valid for 1 year. You should receive a permanent card in the mail.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Iowa Online

Instead of seeing a physician in-person you can consult with one online. Choosing this option will replace step 1 of the process outlined above.

By going online, you can get a medical card recommendation in mere minutes at your convenience. It will be valid for 1 year.

We recommend checking out Leafwell and Veriheal. Both online services provide Iowa MMJ certificates. And both have money back guarantee policies.

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Veriheal charges $199 per certificate if approved. Leafwell is a little cheaper at $149.

For both telehealth services, you are only charged if you are approved for MMJ. Scheduling an in office visit with a medical marijuana doctor does not come with a money back guarantee.

Medical Marijuana Caregiver Card in Iowa

Patients who are under 18 or who need assistance purchasing medical marijuana can designate a caregiver.

Caregivers can be legal guardians, parents or Iowa residents over 21 years of age.

Registering as a caregiver for adult patients is slightly different than registering as a caregiver for minor patients.

Here are the differences for each type:

Caregivers for Adult Patients

  • Patients must first submit an adult patient application prior to a caregiver seeking approval.
  • Once a patient submits an online application, they will receive an email containing their application number.
  • This number is needed to complete the caregiver application.

Caregivers for Minor Patients

  • A patient application is not required to register as a caregiver.
  • Minor patients must obtain a healthcare practitioner form. This signed certificate needs to be issued by a licensed physician.
  • Caregivers must pay the $25 application. However, minor patients are not required to pay a state fee.
MMJ Iowa

How to Apply for a Caregiver Medical Cannabis Card

1. Confirm that the Patient has a Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form

This form must list you as the designated primary caregiver and be signed by a licensed Iowa physician.

2. Ensure the patient (if over 18) has submitted a medical marijuana card application

Adult patients need to submit a patient application before a caregiver can complete theirs. Note: this is only applicable for caregivers of adult patients.

3. Gather the Required Documents and Forms

You must submit the following documents with your caregiver application:

  • Signed Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form that lists you as a caregiver
  • Copy of a valid government ID
    • Can be issued from IA or surrounding states (IL, MN, MO, NE, SD OR WI)

4. Complete a Caregiver Registration Application

You can fill out and submit the caregiver application online. You’ll need to submit all the required documents to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

5. Pay the State Fee

Upon completing the application you will need to pay the $25 registration fee.

Note: caregiver cards will also need to be renewed annually.

Iowa Medical Marijuana Card Benefits

Recreational cannabis is illegal in the state of Iowa. The only way residents can use and purchase marijuana is with a medical cannabis card. MMJ patients have these exclusive benefits:

Consume Marijuana Legally

Only registered patients are allowed to possess and consume cannabis. For anyone else, cannabis use remains punishable by law.

Access Third-Party Tested Products

Patients have access to safer cannabis products. All medicinal cannabis has undergone potency and full panel testing.

Ability to Buy MMJ in Other States That Allow It

Certain states will allow you to buy medical marijuana when visiting if you have an IA medical card.

While Iowa doesn’t have medical marijuana reciprocity, being a medical patient gives you access to medical programs in other states such as Arizona, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Legal Possession Limits

MMJ card holders are allowed to possess 4.5 grams of cannabis in a 90 day period. Individuals without a card cannot possess any amount of marijuana.

Does Iowa Accept Out Of State Medical Cards?

No. Iowa does not have medical cannabis reciprocity. This means they do not accept out-of-state medical cards.

Check out our list of medical marijuana reciprocity states to see if your MMJ card will be accepted there.

Can I Possess Medical Cannabis Products if I have an Out-of-State Medical Card?

Yes, but this comes with a small caveat. Out of state medical marijuana patients are allowed to have the same types of products as Iowa patients.

However, out-of-state patients are not allowed to purchase medical cannabis in Iowa. 

Can I Grow Plants with a Medical Marijuana Card in Iowa?

Nope. Iowa does not permit patient cultivation of marijuana plants.

How do I renew my medical marijuana registration card?

Cards must be renewed annually. The OMC will notify patients via email or mail 2 months before their card is set to expire.

To renew your registry card you’ll need to get a new physician’s certificate, pay the application fee, and submit the same documents and forms as a first time patient.

Wrapping Up: Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Card

For residents, getting an Iowa medical marijuana card is pretty easy!

If you’re over 18, have a qualifying condition, and a signed healthcare practitioner form you meet all the requirements.

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Becoming a caregiver is also very attainable for those that qualify.

From obtaining a recommendation to submitting an application to the OMC, the entire process is swift and simple.

While Iowa’s medical cannabidiol program remains restrictive, becoming a MMJ patient is well within reach.