In a surprise ending, the Legislature passed language that will allow persons with a valid registration card to get cannabidiol with a THC level of not more than 3% in Iowa. This was done as a next step to Iowa’s current Medical Cannabidiol Act, which left many families without the ability to get the medication here in Iowa.

If approved by the Governor, the new legislation authorizes the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to approve licenses for two manufacturers to cultivate, harvest, and package cannabidiol in Iowa, and approve licenses for up to five dispensaries to be in Iowa. If everything goes as planned, these manufacturers and dispensaries would begin supplying December 1, 2018.

Eight additional debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease, are added that will allow more people to get a registration card and access the cannabidiol product in Iowa. Current law limits the registration to persons with intractable epilepsy, or their primary care giver. The bill also creates a Medical Cannabidiol Board to work with IDPH to implement the new law and make additional recommendations to the Legislature.

Until the new program is running, Iowans who already have registration cards for cannabidiol will be able to keep that card for an additional 12 months.

Since the Iowa Senate overwhelmingly approved a more comprehensive medical cannabis bill earlier in the session, many Iowans are concerned the final bill approved is not comprehensive enough and will not allow for effective treatment of the additional debilitating medical conditions due to the 3% limitation on the THC level. The Senate bill also allowed for more than just cannabinoid ingredients to be available for symptom relief.