DES MOINES, Iowa- Five medicinal cannabis dispensaries have been approved to open in Iowa.
On Tuesday, The Iowa Department of Public Health announced it would issue licenses for dispensary operators in five communities across the state: Council Bluffs, Davenport, Sioux City, Waterloo, and Windsor Heights.
An estimated 12,000 Iowans — about .4 percent of the state’s population — will be issued permits to purchase cannabis in the first two years of the program. The initial list of qualifying conditions is restrictive, including only cancer, multiple schlerosis, seizures, ALS, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and terminal illness causing chronic pain and nausea.
Simply suffering from a condition on the list will not guarantee access to cannabis. Physicians are under no obligation to issue recommendations and have voiced concerns about their role and potential liability under the system.
Patients will not be able to access cannabis flower. Instead, vape oils, topicals, and other products will be available. Products will be capped at 3 percent THC. This could help reduce appeal of some of the products on the recreational black market as they are not likely to cause intense psychoactive effects.
Aaron Boshart with the Iowa Cannabis Company was excited that his organization is among the first to receive a license from the state.
“We are honored to have been selected by the IDPH to serve as one of five dispensaries in the State of Iowa,” Boshart told ABC News local affiliate KCRG. “We are excited for the opportunity to serve the community of Waterloo and Eastern Iowa. We believe that safe and equal access to medical cannabidiol for all patients in Iowa should be the highest priority in this new industry.”
MedPharm Iowa has a monopoly of sorts on producing products. As of now, they are the only producer approved to supply the five dispensaries. MedPharm owns two of the newly licensed shops.
CBD oil was first approved by state officials in 2014 to treat epilepsy. Last year, regulators approved expanding the list of qualifying conditions.