Government

Medical marijuana dispensary license approved for Iowa City

If chosen firms don't accept license, state could choose among five others

Cannabis plants grow July 24, 2018, at MedPharm Iowa in Des Moines, currently the only licensed medical marijuana manufa
Cannabis plants grow July 24, 2018, at MedPharm Iowa in Des Moines, currently the only licensed medical marijuana manufacturer in the state. (The Gazette)

A state licensed medical marijuana dispensary may open in Iowa City, which would be the first in the Corridor.

The Iowa Department of Public Health announced Thursday it plans to award two new medical marijuana dispensary licenses — one to the Iowa Cannabis Company East in Iowa City and one to the Cannabis Patient Network in Council Bluffs.

The firms have until Friday to accept. Otherwise, the state could choose among five other applications — including two for Cedar Rapids and two others for the Iowa City area — that met the state’s minimum criteria.

The new licenses follow the March closures of dispensaries in Davenport and Council Bluffs. The state still has licensed dispensaries in Waterloo, Sioux City and Windsor Heights. Iowa law allows only five dispensary licenses.

There have been other setbacks this year for medical marijuana entrepreneurs in Iowa.

Iowa Relief, a medical marijuana manufacturer in Cedar Rapids, closed earlier this year and turned in its license. It was one of two manufacturers licensed in Iowa to produce the medical marijuana products sold to qualifying patients at the dispensaries. The other is MedPharm Iowa of Des Moines.

Iowa Relief, owned by New Jersey-based Acreage Holdings, produced capsules, topical ointments and tinctures for the state’s medical cannabidiol program for less than a year.

Companies interested in Iowa’s medical marijuana program have said it won’t take off until lawmakers allow higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound that produces a high feeling.

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Last summer, the Iowa Legislature passed and Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law House File 2589, which removed a 3 percent THC limit on products but replaced it with a limit of 4.5 grams of THC per 90-day purchase with some exceptions. A year earlier, Reynolds vetoed a bill that would have lifted the cap and allowed 25 grams of THC in 90 days.

The new law also added for 2020 post-traumatic stress disorder and severe autism as conditions qualifying for medical marijuana.

Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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