You can find CBD at nearly any market in the Hawkeye State, but is CBD legal in Iowa?
Although CBD is increasingly popular for managing conditions like stress and poor sleep, fewer people are certain about CBD’s legal status. Since CBD laws vary from state to state, it can get pretty confusing.
Fortunately, Iowa updated their legislation in 2020 to clarify what kinds of CBD products can be legally sold and consumed in the state.
Now, you no longer need a medical CBD card to access legally-produced CBD in the state, but you do need to understand Iowa CBD laws:
Table of Contents
Legal Concerns About CBD
What are the CBD laws in Iowa?
Is full spectrum CBD legal in Iowa?
Does Iowa have a CBD possession limit?
Can doctors prescribe CBD in Iowa?
Where to buy CBD in Iowa?
What’s the legal age to buy CBD in Iowa?
Is CBD legal in all 50 states?
Disclaimer: We’re always working to stay informed on the latest CBD laws and research. However, state laws are subject to change and we advise that you do your own research to verify the information you find in this article. This is not intended as legal advice.
It’s true that CBD gained its federal legal status in 2018. The Hemp Farming Act effectively removed industrial hemp and its natural derivatives (like cannabinoids) from the Controlled Substances Act.
But there’s a catch, and it complicates things:
Legal CBD products must come from industrial hemp.
This classification is designated to hemp material that meets a strict set of standards. The most significant is that it contains less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. If CBD products are made from any cannabis strain that contains more than 0.3% THC, it is not a federally legal product.
That’s not all—
The final product must contain less than 0.3% THC, too.
That means that even if a brand starts with legal hemp material, they need to carry out careful manufacturing procedures to produce a legal end product. It’s possible for certain cannabinoids to be “concentrated” during the extraction process, leading to higher THC concentrations than in the original material. Proper manufacturing and careful testing need to be employed to avoid this issue.
Because there is very little regulation in the CBD industry, it’s important to evaluate a brand carefully before you buy. It can be hard to tell if a CBD product is made from a legal hemp source and meets the federal guidelines for legal hemp products. The best way to ensure that your CBD products are legal is by checking the third-party lab tests for cannabinoid potency.
Of course, these regulations only apply on a federal scale. You must also ensure that your products meet the standards laid out by federal guidelines and those set by your state.
Iowa passed the Medical Cannabidiol Act in 2014, a bill that gave qualifying medical patients the right to use CBD products with less than 0.3% THC by weight. The bill had multiple limitations, especially that it declared no legal forms of access for CBD users. In 2017, Governor Terry Branstad updated the law with House File 524. This file expanded the list of qualifying conditions and provided insight into hemp manufacturing and sales, although both remain pretty restricted throughout the state.
Iowa is one of the few states that did not immediately update legislation to match the federal definition of hemp and hemp-derived products. Unlike states like Colorado and Illinois that got a head start on approval for their hemp programs, Iowa was late to act.
The Iowa Hemp Act, signed in 2019, finally gave the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship provisions for designing framework for a state hemp program to submit to the USDA for approval. At the time, the bill did not clearly define CBD’s legality within the state.
On June 17, 2020, Governor Kim Reynolds submitted House File 2581, a bill that further refined these laws by defining hemp as an agricultural commodity that can be manufactured, sold, and consumed. Further, it declares that CBD products from out of state are also legal in Iowa, providing they come from a state with a USDA-approved hemp program.
The file also clarifies that hemp products cannot legally be sold or used for inhalation, like hemp cigarettes or vaporizers. The use or sale of CBD in this manner is considered a misdemeanor in the state of Iowa. Similar laws have been adopted in a few other states, like Georgia, Texas, and South Dakota.
It’s easy to assume that CBD isolate is legal in many places since it contains no THC, but many consumers are worried that the trace amounts of THC found in full-spectrum CBD products may cause trouble in states where cannabis is illegal. Luckily, Iowa has no laws restricting full spectrum CBD products that contain 0.3% THC or less, so long as they are grown under a USDA-approved hemp program.
To date, there are no possession limits for CBD products that meet legal guidelines. CBD products that contain over 0.3% THC may be classified as cannabis products, which are illegal in Iowa for general use. They do prohibit the use of smokable forms of CBD, like CBD cigarettes or vaporizers. Possession of these forms of CBD could result in a misdemeanor.
In Iowa, you do not need a prescription to access CBD products, but the sate does have a medical cannabidiol program that allows qualifying patients to access cannabis-derived CBD. In general, doctors typically do not “prescribe” CBD products that are sold over the counter, rather they may “recommend” them. You do need a prescription to access CBD-based pharmaceuticals.
Only one CBD product has been approved by the FDA to date. This product, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, is designed to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy. Aside from this product (which comes with stringent usage guidelines), many doctors are still learning about the benefits CBD. If you’re interested in the benefits of CBD, you may need to spark a conversation with your doctor.
Iowa’s 2020 CBD laws expand access to hemp products, and you’ll likely find CBD products in convenience stores, grocery markets, and other health stores throughout the state. Still, the state does very little to ensure quality, aside from imposing regulations that are mostly focused on the product’s THC content.
This lack of regulation can be risky.
Buying CBD online is a suitable option for most consumers. When you buy CBD online directly from the brand, you get better oversight of the brand’s manufacturing practices. Looking at the brand’s hemp source and lab testing procedures can help ensure that the CBD products you choose are clean, potent, and meet legal guidelines.
Buying CBD directly from a brand instead of from a third-party market may also be less costly since you won’t have to pay the extra fees that are often tacked on by the middle man. Of course, premium CBD can be expensive to manufacture, so you should also be wary of products that offer low-ball prices.
Finally, buying CBD online may be the best way to access many different types of CBD. The most common type of CBD product is an oil tincture, but you can find a variety of CBD edibles, topicals, and other specialty products when you shop online.
For more information on how to find high-quality CBD products, check out our CBD Buyer’s Guide.
The legal age to buy CBD is fuzzy, even when looking at federal regulations. In theory, CBD should be accessible to people of all ages, especially since it gained its popularity as a treatment for various childhood illnesses. Of course, some products may not be suitable for people of all ages, like smokable hemp flower or CBD vaporizers.
In Iowa, there are no statewide regulations regarding the legal age to buy CBD. Instead, these laws may vary by jurisdiction and are more heavily impacted by CBD vendors. Since the legal age for tobacco products has been raised to 21, many smoke shops may require users to be 21 to purchase CBD.
Many CBD brands allow customers who are 18 or older to order online and will ship legal CBD products to Iowa.
Thanks to federal updates, CBD has the potential to be legal in every U.S. state. CBD is legal in Iowa, but every state has different regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of CBD. Click here to find out where CBD is legal.
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