Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Iowa Yet?

 Medical marijuana is slowly being legalized in a lot of states all over the United States and Iowa is definitely one of those states. But compared to other states, Iowa constantly expands its bill to cater to changes. 

 When it was signed into law back in May 2014, Iowans were just excited for the future of the bill despite the restrictions. Let’s dig deeper about the recent updates of the state and how to get medical marijuana in Iowa

Recent Expansions

When Gov. Terry Branstad signed the Medical Cannabidiol Act (MCA), people were still skeptical about how it was going to turn out with so many restrictions. But there was still hope for patients because lawmakers were generally open to some changes. Let’s run down on the recent changes:
? More Approved Conditions

The 2014 version of the MCA only approved a couple of conditions to qualify for medical marijuana treatment. These were seizures, Crohn’s disease, AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or other forms of chronic pain.

The list was so short that not many people were approved for the usage of MMJ. But it wasn’t the end for plenty of Iowans because the recent expansions now boasts a longer list of conditions that can get patients approved for their medical marijuana cards. 

Today, the conditions added were cancer, multiple sclerosis, or basically any condition that doctor’s believed marijuana could help with. Nonetheless, more patients can now avail medical marijuana within the state. 

? Removal of THC Cap

When weed was first legalized in the state, the cap of tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) is only at 3%. It would be an understatement to say that businessmen were unhappy with this. 

Last March 2019, a three-way panel has finally approved the removal of the cap on the percentage that you can find in medical cannabis.

This removal has gotten lots of positive reviews, especially on the growers who wanted to increase the potency of their products. Even patients said that their marijuana medication will be more effective now that the cap has been lifted. 

If ever this will become a law, patients or caregivers will be able to possess up to 20 grams of THC every 90 days. 
? Additional Practitioners

In addition to certified physicians who can now recommend marijuana to patients, physician assistants and advanced registered nurses can now also certify patients. 

The people they certify can now get their own medical cannabidiol registration card. This recent expansion was made to address patients who live outside the urban areas. It was mainly to even out everybody’s chances at availing the drug as a form of treatment. 

Medical Cannabidiol Registration Card in Iowa

Seeing the recent expansions, people are now curious on how they can get their own medical marijuana card to avail the new form of treatment. While the process is quite general all over the country, let’s run down the steps to really guide your through the process:

? Age

Before we get into the details of the process, we first have to clarify the age of potential patients. According to the MCA, Iowans who want to become a patient must be at least 18 years old. 
If you happen to be younger than that, then you must have a parent or guardian who can be your caregiver when you’re applying for the program.

? Discussion with Physicians

Before you can even apply, you must first discuss medical cannabis with your physician. This physician must be approved to recommend medical marijuana to patients. 
Be sure to bring the Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form. The physician will sign this form which is necessary to complete your application. 

? Application Form

First thing you need to do is to download the form. You can download this Adult Patient Registration Form from the Iowa Department of Public Health website which you can find here. This is the physical form that you should ship to the department.
If you don’t want to do any shipments and save time, you can also opt for the online version. You can conveniently find patient registration form here. 
There’s a different registration form for applying caregivers. You can also conveniently find this form in this same website or here. 

? Completed Form 

After completing the form, you should have it signed by your physicia
Once that’s done, you can mail it to the Iowa Department of Public Health with the following required documents: 
1. Signed Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form
2. Completed Patient Application Form 
3. Photocopy of Iowa Driver’s License or non-operator Iowa identification card

? Fees

Prepare $100 for your application fee. Also, $25 should also be prepared if you bring with you any of the following:
  • Social Security Disability Benefit Notice Copy
  • Proof of receipt of Supplemental Security Income Payment Copy
  • Iowa Medicaid member card Copy
Hawk-I member card Copy

? Application review

The department will review your application and will contact you if anything is required. You might have to wait a while but don’t worry, it won’t really reach a month. 

Once your card is approved, you can now visit any of the five dispensaries within the state. Lots of expansions are still possible but don’t expect them to happen one after the other. Just make sure to follow the rules and enjoy your medical cannabis.
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