On March 30, 2020, Iowa’s medical marijuana program sustained multiple losses as two medical marijuana dispensaries in Council Bluffs and Davenport permanently closed after their licenses were revoked by the Office of Medical Cannabidiol. However, they plan to open applications to fill these holes in the market.
The closures leave only three dispensaries in operation to cater to the more than 4,300 patients and approximately 700 caregivers registered for Iowa’s medical marijuana program. Patients will now have to travel farther to the state’s other licensed dispensaries that are still operational to purchase medical marijuana medicine in Sioux City, Waterloo and Windsor Heights.
"Providing patient access to medical cannabidiol products is important to the department, and we understand the difficulties that these closures may cause for patients and caregivers in the Council Bluffs and Davenport areas," public health officials said in a release. "The department is committed to providing patient access, and will work to license two new dispensaries as soon as possible."
On April 17, 2020, the Office of Medical Cannabidiol released a Request for Applications for two dispensary licenses to replace the two that have closed and to fill the need for medical marijuana for patients.
Intent to apply is due May 4, 2020, with the final application due on June 8. If you do not submit your intent to apply by the May 4 deadline, you will not be able to submit a final application. The office then intends to award the licenses by July 20, 2020.
Medical cannabidiol dispensaries in Iowa are able to dispense medical cannabis to registered patients. The non-refundable application fee will be $5,000.
Amid the current pandemic, medical marijuana has been declared an essential business in Iowa, and the state Office of Medical Cannabidiol established recommendations for patients regarding accessing medical marijuana during this time. Those recommendations include curbside pickup of medications at dispensaries, submitting applications for cards online, consulting with physicians by telemedicine and working with the Iowa Department of Transportation to receive new cards through the mail.
Iowa's legislative session remains on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but lawmakers say they plan to advocate for an expansion of the state's medical marijuana program once the session can safely reconvene.
"We need another 15 to 20 dispensaries, we need to add another half-dozen to 10 different conditions that are approved in other states, we need to strengthen the medicine — these are things we need to do that successful programs are doing," he said, citing the state’s restrictions as a probable cause to the recent facility closures.
Applications for Iowa medical cannabidiol dispensaries are due on June 8, 2020. To learn more about the application process begin drafting your business plans, download our Marijuana Business Starter Package.
The package includes an informational overview of state specific marijuana laws, our Iowa Marijuana Business Application Guide & Checklist, Marijuana Business Plan Template and our Marijuana Dispensary and Cultivation Financial Plan Template.