cbd oil legal in iowa

Is CBD oil legal in Iowa?

Copy article link to clipboard.

Link copied to clipboard.


  1. What is CBD?
  2. Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
  3. Iowa CBD laws
  4. How to read CBD labels and packaging

No, cannabidiol (CBD) oil is not legal for purchase or possession except for patients who qualify for Iowa’s medical marijuana program. CBD products are available in five state-licensed dispensaries.

In late 2018, U.S. Congress passed the Farm Bill, an act which redefined hemp as an agricultural commodity and removed CBD and hemp products from the controlled substances list. This law is a promising step towards federal legalization, but left many confused about CBD’s legality at the state level.

Consumers are confronted with a legal limbo where CBD is federally legal, but outlawed in Iowa until the state’s hemp plan is approved by the federal government. Iowa regulators passed SF 599, the Iowa Hemp Act, which was signed by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds in May 2019. Yet state law still classifies CBD as a controlled substance. Further, the existence of Iowa’s medical cannabis program complicates many Iowans’ understanding of what is or isn’t allowed.

What is CBD?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the second-most-abundant molecule in cannabis after tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). A non-intoxicating compound, CBD shows evidence of therapeutic potential in fighting inflammation, reducing anxiety, suppressing seizures and relieving pain. CBD can be derived from either hemp or marijuana plants.

To meet federal legal criteria, CBD oil must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Image lightbox

Why is CBD sometimes illegal?

In 1970, the Federal Controlled Substances Act categorizes all cannabis, including industrial hemp, as a Schedule 1 narcotic, which deemed cannabis as a substance with no accepted medical use and a high potential for addiction and abuse.

Decades later, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, legalizing hemp cultivation and hemp-derived CBD products. The Farm Bill defined hemp and marijuana using a THC content threshold: hemp contains 0.3% THC by weight; marijuana has more than 0.3% THC. This distinction removed hemp-derived CBD from its Schedule 1 classification, though CBD extracted from marijuana is still federally illegal. The Farm Bill also classified hemp as an agricultural commodity and instructed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to draft regulations and oversee hemp’s production and sale.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was also tasked with regulating the labeling of CBD products, therapeutic claims, and whether CBD is permitted in any food or beverage product. In early 2019, the FDA stated that no food or beverage products or products marketed as a dietary supplement could contain CBD. While the FDA has begun re-evaluating this stance, it hasn’t issued official rules.

The FDA hasn’t moved swiftly to draft national regulations. Meanwhile, individual states are interpreting the Farm Bill. The FDA has upheld strict standards when product labels make medical claims.

The Farm Bill empowers individual states to issue their own regulations alongside national law, up to and including CBD’s total prohibition. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Image lightbox

The Farm Bill also empowers individual states to issue their own regulations alongside national law, up to and including CBD’s total prohibition. Iowa, in particular, has stated that it will wait for U.S. approval of any state-drafted hemp rules before it adopts the new legal definition of CBD.

Iowa CBD laws

In 2014, the Iowa legislature passed SF 2360, known as the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Act, to allow individuals diagnosed with intractable epilepsy to use CBD products with 3% or less THC by weight. However, Iowa patients had no means of purchasing their medicine within the state.

In 2017, Republican Gov. Terry Branstad signed into law a newer version of the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Act. HF 524 expanded qualifying conditions for patients and tasked the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) with creating a regulatory framework for CBD manufacturing and sales. As of December 2018, patients with a medical cannabidiol registration card could legally purchase CBD products at one of five licensed dispensaries in Iowa.

Iowa has yet to redefine CBD to meet the federal definition put forth by the 2018 Farm Bill. By signing the 2019 Iowa Hemp Act, Reynolds tasked the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) with drafting an industrial hemp program to be approved by the USDA. Once approved, the IDALS will oversee the regulation of hemp and CBD products in Iowa.

Until then, CBD products remain illegal in Iowa. In July 2019, Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller issued a statement reminding the public that CBD products are still illegal unless the products are grown, sold, and possessed in participation with the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol program. CBD is still a Schedule 1 substance, excepting the four FDA-approved CBD products such as Epidiolex.

Licensing requirements for CBD

The IDALS is currently drafting proposed regulations for an Iowa hemp program, to be approved by the USDA before enactment.

New formulations of CBD allow the cannabinoid to be used in a variety of ways. Photo by: (Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

Image lightbox

The Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Program has licensed one manufacturer, MedPharm Iowa, to produce CBD products for registered patients to purchase at one of five licensed dispensaries: MedPharm Iowa was offered dispensary licenses for Sioux City and Windsor Heights. Have a Heart Compassion Care was authorized for Council Bluffs and Davenport, and Iowa Cannabis Company operates in Waterloo. Dispensaries began selling medical cannabis products to registered patients in December 2018.

The IDPH currently is not accepting new applications for manufacturing or dispensary licenses.

Testing requirements

There are currently no requirements for CBD lab testing outside of the medical cannabidiol program, as the cultivation and sale of any CBD products other than licensed by the IDPH is illegal.

State law requires laboratories to establish and implement test methods and standard operating procedures for the testing of cannabinoids, microbiological impurities, pesticides, residual solvents and processing chemicals, and metals. All testing labs must, at a minimum, test for and report measurements for the following cannabinoids: THC, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), CBD, cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabinol (CBN).

Sale regulations

Only five dispensaries licensed by the IDPH can sell medical cannabidiol products to patients with a valid registration card.

The unlicensed sale of CBD or of any cannabis product is punishable by law with tiered penalties depending on the severity of the offense. The sale of less than 50 kilograms, or 110 pounds, is a felony punished by five years in prison and a $7,500 fine; 50-100 kilograms, or 110-220 pounds is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. The sale of 100-1,000 kilograms, or 220-2,205 pounds, is punishable by up to 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. The sale of any amount more than 1,000 kilograms, or 1.1 tons, can earn up to 50 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

CBD oil usually comes with a dropper to allow consumers and patients to measure out their dose. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Image lightbox

The sale of cannabis involving a minor, or within 1,000 feet of a school or other public place, can incur a sentence between five to 25 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.

Cultivation requirements

The home cultivation of any kind of cannabis is illegal in Iowa. Cultivation without a license is punished by the same violation tiers as the illegal sale of cannabis.

Iowa CBD possession limits

The possession of CBD is legal only for medical marijuana patients with a qualifying medical condition and valid medical cannabidiol program registration card. The CBD product must be purchased from a licensed Iowa dispensary and contain less than 0.3% THC. CBD products may be taken only orally or transdermally, and smoking or vaporizing CBD are prohibited.

Illegal possession of any amount of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by tiers of incarceration and fines depending on initial or subsequent offenses. A first offense carries a sentence of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. A second offense is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,875 fine, and a third offense scales up to two years of jail time and a $6,250 fine.

How to read CBD labels and packaging

Only medical CBD is legal in Iowa, which has issued extensive labeling requirements for the products. In addition to detailed rules about tamper-resistant packaging, the state requires labels that list the name and address of the manufacturer where the medical cannabidiol was manufactured; the medical cannabidiol’s primary active ingredients; directions for use, including recommended and maximum amount by age and weight; date of expiration; and storage instructions.

Is CBD oil legal in Iowa? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD? Why is CBD sometimes illegal? Iowa CBD laws How to read CBD

CBD Oil in Iowa: What Are the Current Laws?

Disclaimer: All of the information in this guide is based on our own research into the topic. We have done our best to use accurate and up-to-date information from respected and credible resources. However, we cannot claim to be a legal authority, and none of the following information should be taken as legal advice.


CBD Gummies

CBD Cream

CBD Capsules

A Guide to CBD Oil in Iowa

  • Iowa laws are some of the most confusing in the country.
  • Despite regulations, shops are selling CBD across the state.
  • Iowa’s hemp-growing program is new for 2020, and growers must obtain a license through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
  • Iowa has implemented a medical cannabidiol program for those who qualify.
  • There are only three medical cannabidiol dispensaries in the whole state.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Iowa?

When it comes to the legality of CBD, few lines are clearly drawn. Iowa is one state where this is doubly true. The Hawkeye State has strict laws requiring dispensary registrations to sell and prescriptions to purchase, yet there are retailers all over Iowa carrying CBD oil and other products.

If you’re confused about whether you can legally use CBD in Iowa, you’re not alone. Despite individual states adopting their own regulations, people are consuming CBD products at an ever-growing pace no matter where they live. You can find CBD of all types in a variety of formulas, and the products are easy to purchase almost everywhere.

The confusion begins with the federal government’s slow and incomplete regulation, and it trickles down to state and local levels.

Passed in 2018, the Farm Bill was supposed to clear things up for people once and for all, differentiating industrial hemp from marijuana and legalizing the farming and processing of hemp and its products. But the Food and Drug Administration seemed unprepared for the explosion of a new market and has created a legal gray area surrounding CBD.

To make matters worse, states can adopt their own laws related to hemp and CBD—which may or may not be in alignment with federal laws—and it is usually up to local authorities to enforce restrictions. In this article, we will do our best to clear up some of the confusion about CBD in Iowa so you can make decisions you feel confident about.

Are There CBD Laws in Iowa?

It is a good idea to check out government websites as the legal landscape is always changing, but they do not always make things abundantly clear. Additionally, they are not often as up-to-date as the laws themselves. As of right now in Iowa, patients can purchase medical-grade cannabidiol from dispensaries with a prescription.

The state recently passed legislation allowing farms to grow hemp, and there are a couple of state-licensed processing facilities as well. Iowa is behind most states in the country regarding its adoption of comprehensive programs facilitating a viable hemp product market, but lawmakers are making progress.

CBD in Iowa: Understanding Different Types of CBD Products


CBD oil is one of the most widely recognized forms of CBD on the market. In order to get your daily dose, you simply squeeze a dropperful under your tongue and hold it there for a minute or two, allowing it to absorb. Some people also like to add CBD oil to their morning coffee; you can add it to the food or beverage of your preference.

Penguin offers CBD oil in four delicious flavors as well as unflavored, and you are sure to find a product that fits your needs on our website. Our CBD oil comes in doses of 250mg, 600mg and 1,000mg per bottle, which gives you a perfect dosage range whether you are just getting started or have been taking CBD for years.


Our CBD oil is made with the best Oregon grown hemp. Comes in mint, citrus, natural, strawberry and cookies & cream flavors.

CBD Capsules

CBD capsules come in a wide range of doses, depending on which company you purchase from. Make sure you are only buying your capsules from the most reputable companies in order to get an effective product you can count on.

When you order your CBD capsules from Penguin, you can find our third-party lab results verifying that our products are exactly what we advertise. Our CBD capsules come in a 10mg strength so you have complete control over your premeasured dose every time.

CBD Capsules

Convenient, discreet and travel-ready, our CBD capsules can be taken anywhere with ease. Each capsule contains 10mg of our broad-spectrum hemp extract suspended in MCT oil.

CBD Gummies

The midafternoon slump is a bummer unless you’ve got a great snack to help you through. CBD gummies are a perfect discreet way of getting your afternoon dose of CBD, and waking up your taste buds at the same time.

CBD gummies are difficult to get right, and some brands taste bitter or have an off-putting texture. But our customers rave over Penguin’s CBD gummies. They are made with CBD isolate, which helps reduce the earthy flavor inherent in hemp products, and they offer the perfect combination of soft and chewy.

CBD Gummies

Made with the purest CBD isolate, our CBD gummy worms are a treat for your taste buds. Every container contains 30 individual worms, with each one packing 10mg of CBD.

CBD Cream

When you really want to feel like you’re at the spa, CBD cream will immerse your senses in a relaxing experience that locks in moisture and helps you keep your radiance.

At Penguin CBD, we start with a shea and cocoa butter base, then infuse the cream with soothing lavender and cooling peppermint for the ultimate treat for your skin. You deserve to pamper yourself, and our CBD cream is perfect for an at-home spa day.

CBD Cream

Our CBD cream is a luxurious cream that’s silky smooth and cooling upon contact. Its terpene rich formula is designed to be absorbed quickly.

Industrial Hemp in Iowa

The 2018 Farm Bill means that it is now legal at the federal level to grow and process industrial hemp and its products. The bill specifies that hemp containing 0.3 percent or less THC qualifies as industrial hemp, and takes all products derived from the plant off the list of controlled substances.

States have the right to choose whether or not to adopt the new federal regulations, but they must work with the United States Department of Agriculture if they choose to grow hemp and want to be in compliance with federal law.

Before the 2018 Farm Bill, a 2014 provision allowed states to develop a hemp-growing pilot program for research purposes. Growers were not allowed to produce hemp commercially, but could work with universities to develop best growing practices for each state.

Iowa chose not to participate in the research pilot programs, so there is little information about the best ways to grow hemp in the state. However, there is a great deal of interest among growers. 2020 is the first year that Iowa’s hemp program is officially underway, and it will be interesting to see how things pan out.

Farmers who wish to grow hemp in Iowa must submit a license application to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and they are encouraged to ensure there is a viable market for their crops before planting.

The Iowa attorney general has made it clear that though this new legislation takes hemp products off the state’s controlled-substances list, laws will still be enforced in compliance with federal regulations.

Want to buy CBD oil in Iowa? Here are the current laws in the state.