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How legal is marijuana in Iowa?

Much of the United States has taken a more relaxed stance on marijuana in the last few years. Many states, including Minnesota and Illinois, have approved the use of medical marijuana. Others, like Nebraska and Missouri, have revised possession laws, reducing the penalties.

Iowa seems to be sitting in the center of a movement toward accessible cannabis. It raises the question: how legal is marijuana in our state?

At the moment, it is still completely illegal. However, there is movement toward possibly changing that.

Medicinal marijuana

Iowa recently decided to give medical marijuana a try. According to the Des Moines Register, Iowa has approved five cannabis stores which will open their doors this December. The use and possession of medical marijuana is expected to still be highly regulated.

Like other states, you will require a recommendation from your doctor to receive a medical marijuana license. The list of ailments deemed treatable by cannabis is short, as well:

  • Cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Seizures
  • Crohn's disease
  • Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Untreatable, severe or chronic pain
  • Nausea

This is truly a medical route, so if you're thinking about getting a license to skirt marijuana laws, think again. Smokeable marijuana will remain illegal; prescriptions will only be available in the form of oils, creams, capsules and suppositories. The medicines will also contain a maximum of 3 percent THC. Comparatively, recreational marijuana contains around 20 percent.


One Iowa legislator has introduced a bill to reduce charges for the possession of less than five grams of marijuana. On a first offense, the penalty would drop to a maximum of 30 days in jail and a fine of $625.

The laws and penalties around marijuana continue to be very strict in Iowa. It's hard to say if legal, recreational use of cannabis will come to our state, but it appears to be a long way off if it does.

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