Iowa Senate Bill Would Open the Door to More Potent Medical Marijuana

Lawmakers in Iowa may vote on a medical marijuana expansion bill in the coming days, but it’s unclear if there’s enough time before the session ends.

A Senate committee voted 11-3 on Monday to advance a bill that would eliminate the state’s cap on THC in cannabis oil that goes on sale Dec. 1 in five Iowa dispensaries. THC is the compound associated with marijuana’s psychoactive effects.

Under current law, products in Iowa may contain no more than 3% THC. The measure, Senate Study Bill 3016, would allow the state’s medical cannabis board to raise the state’s allowable THC level.

By contrast, most cannabis used recreationally by adult-use consumers falls between about 15% and 25% THC. Even strains considered relatively mild contain about 10%.

The bill would also exempt cannabis oil from sales tax and expand eligible medical conditions to any that a doctor says is medically beneficial.

MedPharm Iowa, the state’s first cannabis oil manufacturer, says eliminating a cap on THC is needed to create a large enough market for medical marijuana sales. As of last week, about 700 permits have been issued to Iowa patients and caregivers.