Published on November 19, 2023

A Guide to Accessing Medical Marijuana in Iowa

Medical marijuana is legal in Iowa if your doctor diagnoses you with a condition on the state’s list of qualifying illnesses. This includes conditions that may cause severe pain, nausea, and wasting.

A patient’s healthcare practitioner must complete a Healthcare Practitioner Certification Form certifying that the person has a qualifying condition.


To access medical marijuana in Iowa, you must be a resident of the state and have one of the approved conditions. You must also be at least 18 years old to get a medical marijuana card in Iowa. However, minors can have a designated caregiver to help them purchase and use medical marijuana. The caregiver must register at the same time as the patient.

Meeting with a registered physician is the first step in becoming a medical marijuana patient. During this appointment, the doctor will evaluate you to see if you have one of the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana treatment. You should provide relevant medical records during the appointment and discuss your treatment regimen with the doctor.

If your doctor signs a healthcare practitioner certification form and completes the registration process with the Iowa Department of Public Health, you will be approved for medical marijuana. The doctor can do this in their office or through a telemedicine platform.

In addition to meeting with a licensed medical marijuana doctor, you must also pay the registration fee. This can be paid in cash, by check, or by credit card. You must also provide proof of your identity and address and a valid driver’s license or ID from Iowa or any bordering state.

Online Application

As with any state, each carries its own rules and regulations for medical cannabis. In Iowa, cannabis is only legally available for purchase at one of the five registered dispensaries statewide. Iowa medical marijuana program allows patients to possess products such as edibles, tinctures, and topical creams. However, cultivation and smoking remain illegal in Iowa.

Patients with qualifying conditions can complete the state’s online medical marijuana evaluation form to receive a license to access cannabis. The process takes about 15 minutes and can be done in real-time. Patients should bring a list of their symptoms and current medications to the appointment. The licensed physician will review the information and issue a medical marijuana certification. Adult patients can also complete a caregiver registration application.

A caregiver must be an Iowa or bordering state resident and fulfill two primary requirements. Caregivers are not allowed to cultivate cannabis, but they can procure and administer marijuana for the patient. They must submit a healthcare practitioner certification form signed by the patient’s doctor and a valid photo ID. Caregivers can only have one patient at a time.

Iowa does not have strict medical reciprocity, but patients who travel to other states with legal cannabis programs should check the laws of their destination to see if they can legally use medical marijuana there. Those traveling outside of Iowa should be sure to have proof of residency and a signed medical marijuana certificate, which can be obtained via an online consultation.

Caregiver Registration

In the years since Iowa’s initial legislation passed, the process to get a medical marijuana card in the state has become more streamlined and more accessible. However, it is still important to know what the requirements and restrictions are when deciding whether or not cannabis treatment is proper for you.

For adult patients, the first step is to complete a patient application. This requires a completed and signed Healthcare Practitioner Evaluation Form, a photo ID, proof of residency, and an email address. Then, the applicant must provide an attestation statement that they are an adult and agree to the terms of the patient program.

Caregivers are an essential part of many state MMJ programs, allowing those who may be unable to procure or administer their own medicine safely the ability to do so. As of now, Iowa allows adults to designate caregivers who can help them obtain, administer, and use medical marijuana. The process for registering as a caregiver is similar to the patient registration process, although submitting both applications simultaneously can help expedite the approval.

It is vital to note that smoking is strictly prohibited in public places, and it is a misdemeanor for anyone to be caught with even small amounts of cannabis. Additionally, it is not advisable to operate a vehicle with any cannabis in your system, as it can impair driving and lead to legal repercussions.


Iowa is no different when it comes to medical marijuana regulations. Cannabis products such as capsules, tinctures, and lotions are permitted in the state. However, smoked flowers and edibles are not. Recreational cannabis remains illegal statewide, and possession of it can carry severe penalties. Patients are allowed to possess and use certain cannabis products, including CBD, in various ratios with THC. Still, out-of-state residents are not permitted to purchase products from Iowa dispensaries.

You must make an appointment with a physician to acquire a cannabis recommendation. Many doctors offer telemedicine consultations, which are typically quick and easy. The process is HIPAA-secure, so you can feel comfortable sharing your health history with the doctor in real time. Patients are encouraged to ask as many questions as possible during this appointment. It’s also a good idea to write down your questions beforehand so you don’t forget anything important.

It’s also worth noting that although medical cannabis is legal in the state, employers may choose to prohibit its use in the workplace. This could result in a wrongful termination claim for an employee approved by the program. Fortunately, Iowa law protects patients and caregivers from discrimination at the workplace as long as they follow company drug testing policies.

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