Proposed Changes to Products in Iowa’s Medical Cannabis Program

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A new bill to define cannabis flower as an accepted form of medical cannabis recently advanced through a subcommittee.

On January 16, 2024, House Study Bill 532, which would change the definition of “medical cannabidiol” to include cannabis flower products, advanced through a subcommittee (1). The new definition would include oral, topical, inhalable, and raw flower forms of cannabis (1). Supporters of the bill claim it will make medical cannabis less expensive to produce and thus more accessible to patients (1). Currently, there are 18,000 people in Iowa with medical cannabis cards and five dispensaries in the state (1,2). The state’s Medical Cannabidiol Board regulates the kinds of products in the program and allows tablets, capsules, topical products, and products meant to vaporize cannabis oil (2).

Lobbyist Dane Schumann of MedPharm Iowa, a licensed medical cannabis facility, explained in a press conference the current tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) extraction requirements for producing medical cannabis (1). “We are the only state really left in the country that is requiring extracts in their products,” Schumann also stated (1). “The reason other states have moved away from requiring that is because of what I just described, it’s very expensive to make patients have to buy that.”


Catherine Lucas, general counsel with the Iowa Department of Public Service, noted that when neighboring Minnesota change their medical cannabis definition, 80,000 people subsequently became added to the program (1). Lucas also voiced concerns over a potential increase in impaired driving and law enforcement being unable to adequately enforce current recreational cannabis laws, as they will not be able to discern the source of a cannabis flower product (1). “If they have a medical card, it’s essentially (a) ‘get out of jail free’ card,” Lucas stated (1).

House Study Bill 532 will next be discussed in the Senate Public Safety Committee (1). Previously this year, a petition to add cannabis flower to the list of accepted medical cannabis products in Iowa was dismissed by the medical cannabis board (2).


  1. Opsahl, R. Bill would expand Iowa’s medical cannabis program to include Flower Products (accessed Jan 18, 2024).
  2. McCullough, C. Iowa lawmakers advance bill to add Raw Cannabis Flower to medical program (accessed Jan 18, 2024).