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Iowa Medical Cannabis Program Continues To Rise With $10 Million in Sales

The Iowa Cannabidiol Board reported that the state collected $10.2million in sales from five dispensaries by December 2022. Only in August, the state had reached the $1,000,000 mark in one month. The pattern continued through the rest of 2018. In comparison, the December 2021 sales reached $587,000.

The following is an extract from the Des Moines RegisterThe number of patients also has increased dramatically. Iowa’s cardholder count reached 7,800 by December 2021. By November 2022 it was 15,000. The current state list 51.1% patients as males and 48.5% females. 0.4% are non-binary.

Iowa has the highest concentration of medical cannabis patients at present. Polk County is the home of 5,112 patients. Linn County follows with 833 patients. Black Hawk County (670), Woodbury County (645), Johnson County (612).

The state’s number of caregivers, or people who assist patients that are “too ill, immobilized or otherwise unable to visit a dispensary,” has risen as well. Also, caregiver cards have increased in number, with 2,300 caregiver card holders in December 2021 and 3,00 in November 2022.

Chronic pain is the most popular condition with over 10,000 patients. Post-traumatic dress disorder has around 2,800 cardholders. Since the state’s medical cannabis program launched in November 2018, it has issued more than 32,000 medical cannabis cards.

It Des Moines Register also reports that as of November 2022, 1,920 health care professionals (defined as either a physician, physician assistant, advanced registered nurse practitioner, or podiatrist) have “signed off” on at least one patient using cannabis to treat their condition (compared to only 300 health care practitioners in December 2021).

In terms of products purchased, “vaporizable” products are the most popular at 66.4%, followed by capsules/tablets (24.6%), tinctures (6.4%), and topicals (2.5%). About 77.9% favor products with high levels of THC. Thirteen percent prefer balanced THC/CBD ratios, while 8.9% select high CBD.

A large majority of patients suffering from conditions such as AIDS/HIV, ALS, Crohn’s disease, seizures, and ulcerative colitis chose high THC products. The only exception is an even split for those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease (37% prefer THC/CBD products, and 38% prefer high THC products).

Although Iowa has seen a rise in medical cannabis, attempts to legalize adult use cannabis have failed. The Campaign for Sensible Cannabis Laws in Iowa launched an initiative to legalize marijuana earlier last year. “Cannabis reform is sweeping the country. Majorities across all political spectrums are supporting reform, from ruby-red South Dakota and Montana to the perpetually blue New York City and New Jersey. In some states it’s a stronger medical program,” said campaign founder Bradley Knott. “In other states voters have gone all in for both medical and recreational cannabis. In Iowa, we don’t have a choice. We don’t even have a voice.”

Rick Stewart, a Libertarian candidate for Iowa governor was critical of Kim Reynolds, a Republican candidate who later became governor. “What the hell, Kim?” Stewart said in a video. “Here I am in Illinois—why, only a few miles from the Iowa border—and they’ve got legal cannabis.”

Standing in front of the bridge connecting Illinois and Iowa, he described the vast differences between their laws. “If I buy weed on this side of the bridge, I’m buying it from a crook. If I buy weed on that side of the bridge, I’m buying it from a reputable business person,” Stewart said.

Iowa’s southern neighbor of Missouri recently has an adult-use cannabis program that went live in December 2022 as well.