Cedar Rapids Hoping For Better Luck With Second Medical Marijuana Application

Photo Credit: Mark Marturello

Cedar Rapids missed out on the first round of medical marijuana locations in Iowa. But city leaders hope to do better in round two by landing a second medical marijuana production site location.

The Iowa Department of Public Health approved an application in Des Moines for MedPharm to grow marijuana legally and extra cannabis oil for medical treatment. It’s the only one in the state.

Five other locations, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Waterloo, Windsor Heights (Des Moines) and Sioux City, got selected as locations for dispensaries to provide the cannabis oil for patients licensed to buy it for pain, seizures and other medical conditions.

Iowa Cannabis, which received one of the dispensing licenses for Waterloo, would like to set up the state’s second marijuana manufacturing facility in Cedar Rapids.

And on Tuesday, city council members should pass a resolution authorizing the mayor to draft a letter of support for the proposal.

Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart indicates the company is looking for a 6,000-7,000 foot warehouse for the grow operation and would expect 20 jobs at first with pay starting at $15.00 per hour.

Council member Tyler Olson says the city is treating it like any other proposed small business expansion.

“The city is treating it like any other economic development pursuit. It’s important we attract companies to Cedar Rapids and a medical marijuana grow operation would be one of those businesses,” Olson said.

Pat Loeffler and his wife Kymm sell cannabis oil products now at their Corner Store Apothecary in Cedar Rapids. Those oils don’t have the active THC ingredients found in marijuana and the Loefflers can’t make medical claims for the oils they sell now.

But Pat Loeffler has a history of severe seizures and a state card to purchase medical marijuana in Iowa once it’s available.

He definitely supports the manufacturing permit request because he thinks it puts the city in line for any marijuana pharmacy expansions and would be a lot more convenient than the closest locations at Davenport and Waterloo.

“I’m assuming a dispensary would come along with that (manufacturing) in the future years. They’d want to see how the program starts out. It’s all going to be a wait and see thing right now,” Loeffler said.

For now, the extent of city support is the resolution showing support for the application.

The deadline for applications for the second marijuana manufacturing operation in Iowa is May 31st. The state expects to make a decision July 1st.