IA: Waterloo Mayor, Council Asked To Support Medical Cannabis Dispensary

Photo Credit: AP Photo

A company hoping to open a medical marijuana dispensary near Crossroad Center has asked the city for an endorsement.

Aaron Boshart, of Des Moines-based Iowa Cannabis Co., asked Waterloo City Council members and the mayor for a letter of support for its proposed cannabidiol dispensary in a strip mall at 1955 La Porte Road.

“I feel without a statement of support from the city of Waterloo, the Iowa Department of Public Health will select a different community to award one of these five licenses, potentially limiting the access to this treatment to the patients of this community,” Boshart said.

“It has proven medical benefits for a wide range of illnesses, from treating epileptic seizures to replacing opiates as a treatment for long-term chronic pain,” he said of CBD oil.

The site is one of 21 applications submitted to the Iowa Department of Public Health by seven different companies hoping to open dispensaries.

There also were five applications from the Des Moines metro area; four each from Sioux City and the Davenport metro areas; three from Council Bluffs; and one each from Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Coralville and Iowa City.

The IDPH plans to select five dispensaries from those applications by March 26.

Boshart noted the cities of Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Davenport and Coralville had issued statements supporting a CBD dispensary in their communities. Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart also has written a letter supporting the application in his city.

Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart said he would evaluate Boshart’s request before deciding whether to add his support.

But Councilman Pat Morrissey said he fully endorsed the proposal.

“Waterloo needs that; we need to be on the cutting edge of that,” Morrissey said. “I wish it went even further than what you’re talking about. We need to expand our medical cannabis laws in the state of Iowa.”

Iowa legislators and Gov. Terry Branstad approved a bill in 2017 expanding access to cannabis oil for patients diagnosed with certain diseases and with terminal illnesses causing untreatable pain.

The law limited the oil to a tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, content of up to 3 percent; THC is the chemical in cannabis that makes recreational users high.

MedPharm Iowa has been licensed to manufacture medical marijuana at a location on the south side of Des Moines and is among the seven companies also looking for one or more of the five dispensary licenses expected to be awarded.

Iowa Cannabis Co.’s Boshart said he has already taken out zoning forms and secured a lease for the Waterloo dispensary, should a license be awarded.

“We believe the property at 1955 La Porte Road is well positioned geographically to serve the patients of Waterloo, Cedar Falls and the surrounding rural community,” he said.