Photo by Kelcy Gatson on Unsplash
Disclaimer: The information below is fully based on our independent research. While our team does everything in their power to provide accurate and current information from credible state-run websites and resources, we are not lawyers or legal experts. As such, none of the following information should be interpreted as legal advice. Content on these pages is provided for informational purposes only and those with legal concerns should consult experts within their state.
Many people tout the power of CBD as a possible source of relief for everything from chronic pain to insomnia, depression and anxiety. Cannabidiol is a nonintoxicating cannabinoid that is present in both marijuana and in industrial hemp. However, the country’s patchwork of laws made it difficult to understand what was legal and what was not. Those who asked “is CBD legal in Iowa?” would have gotten a very confusing answer as recently as last year. However, recent changes in both federal and Iowa state law have clarified the role of CBD and how it can be legally bought, sold and used.
Is CBD oil legal in Iowa?
Yes, CBD oil is legal in Iowa. However, the law was only clarified earlier this year. Until very recently, state law seemed to indicate that CBD could only be acquired by people who had medical marijuana cards in Iowa. However, over the summer, state legislators passed the Hemp Consumer and Public Safety Law to clarify that hemp is a commodity and that hemp products can be made in Iowa for the purposes of sale and consumption.
Individuals, regardless of age or medical status, are permitted to buy CBD products over the counter. Additionally, people with certain covered conditions can acquire CBD products from dispensaries.
However, under the law, smokable and vapable hemp products remain illegal. Anyone who sells hemp products for that purpose is guilty of a misdemeanor offense.
What are the current CBD laws in Iowa?
At the current time, CBD is legal to buy, sell and produce in Iowa. However, that was not always the case.
In 1970, all cannabis products, including industrial hemp, were categorized as Schedule 1 narcotics under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. Iowa also had strong state laws against cannabis in all forms, considering possession of even small amounts a misdemeanor crime. However, one factor of Iowa law that distinguished it from other states is that, even with repeat arrests, possessing quantities of cannabis for personal use remains a misdemeanor. A bill was introduced in Iowa’s state legislature during the 1970s that would have decriminalized all cannabis, but the bill failed to pass.
The state attempted to loosen laws again in 2014 with House File 2313. This bill would have reduced the penalty for possess of up to 42.5 grams to a $300 fine. However, the bill did not progress before its procedural deadline and expired.
Medical marijuana was technically permitted in the state from 1979 to 1981 in therapeutic research centers. However, no programs were ever implemented.
In 2014, the state revisited the issue in Senate Bill 2360. Under this bill, which was voted into law April 25, 2014, individuals with intractable epilepsy were permitted to possess CBD oil with less than 3% THC. The bill specified that the CBD oil must be obtained from a source outside the state.
Later that year, Governor Terry Branstad signed the Medical Cannabidiol Act into law, which allowed neurologists to recommend the use of CBD for children with intractable epilepsy. However, there was no provision in the law for obtaining CBD legally in the state.
An expansion of the state’s medical CBD law in 2017 allowed for more conditions to be covered. Under the new law, people who suffered from cancer, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, chronic pain and other conditions could legally obtain CBD. Patients who wish to use medical CBD must begin by contacting their healthcare provider. Their provider can fill out a registration form that affirms that the patient suffers from a covered condition and that their symptoms can be alleviated with the use of CBD. Approved patients must renew their registration once a year. Available medical CBD products include oral forms like capsules and tinctures, topical creams and gels, suppositories and inhalable forms intended for nebulizers.
However, confusion about the legality of CBD in the state remained. In 2018, law enforcement in the state began seizing products that were labeled as containing CBD. Law enforcement in the state maintained that CBD products were still Schedule 1 narcotics at the state and federal level, and thus subject to state drug laws. Seizures of CBD products continued well into 2019.
Federal drug laws changed in 2018 when the Farm Bill legalized hemp cultivation and processing, including the manufacture of hemp-based CBD products. Under the Farm Bill, CBD products were legal as long as they contained less than .3% THC by weight. Hemp was classified as an agricultural commodity on the federal level. However, the Farm Bill left it up to the states how to regulate the production and sale of hemp products, including CBD.
The Iowa Hemp Act, passed in 2019 and signed by Governor Kim Reynolds, allowed registered farmers to legally cultivate up to 40 acres of hemp. However, the law left processing and sale in legal limbo.
In the summer of 2020, Governor Reynolds signed the Hemp Consumer and Public Safety Law. This law clarifies that hemp is a commodity and that hemp products made in Iowa could be legally purchased and consumed. Farmers in the state must have their crop tested for THC content at least 30 days before harvest. Plants that contain more than .3% THC dry weight are considered illegal marijuana, which is still a Schedule 1 substance. Those plants must be destroyed.
Hemp products for human consumption can be sold over the counter in the state. This includes CBD oil, edible products like gummies, pills, creams and other items. All products containing CBD must be properly labeled to note the presence and concentration of CBD. Additionally, in compliance with FDA requirements, CBD products in Iowa cannot make health claims or be sold as a supplement.
However, the sale of hemp products meant to be smoked, such as vapes or hemp buds, remains illegal in the state. Additionally, only hemp produced in a state with a USDA approved program can be sold in Iowa. Hemp products and derivatives meant for animal consumption are also not legal in the state.
Can I purchase CBD in Iowa?
Yes, you can purchase CBD in Iowa. CBD products are widely available in a range of venues that include head shops, specialty CBD stores, drug stores and other places. Iowa also has three dispensaries where individuals with medical marijuana cards can purchase low THC/high CBD products.
Additionally, CBD products can be purchased online and shipped to Iowa residents. Many people choose to buy CBD online because they are able to get a wider variety of products. People may also find that they are able to purchase CBD products more inexpensively when they choose to shop online. Plus, buying online also allows for people to check for a wider range of testing to ensure that their CBD products have the potency and purity that they want.