MMJ Coming To Iowa City

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IOWA CITY — Soon the Iowa Cannabis Co. will be able to manufacture and sell medical marijuana products in Iowa City.

The Iowa Department of Public Health has allowed the company to transfer its license to manufacture medical marijuana products from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City, where the firm also will open a dispensary for consumers this fall.

“ICC MFG has asked to relocate its manufacturing facility to Iowa City,” Owen Parker, program manager for Iowa’s Office of Medical Cannabidiol, said in a meeting Friday of the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Board. “IDPH did grant that approval and local zoning authority has been provided. They will have operation to begin in 2021.”

The manufacturing site under consideration is in an industrial zone on the south end of Scott Boulevard on Iowa City’s southeast side, officials said.

Iowa Cannabis’ Iowa City dispensary — one of five in the state — was supposed to open by July 1, but the state gave the company an extension to start selling products Oct. 1. The company will open a dispensary in Council Bluffs at the same time and has operated a Waterloo dispensary since 2018.

The Iowa City dispensary will be in the strip mall by Harbor Freight and La Regia Taqueria, city officials told state Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City.

More than 6,000 Iowans have qualified to be in the medical marijuana program, which addresses a dozen different conditions including Parkinson’s disease, cancer and autism.

In June 2018, the state Public Health Department announced it would award the second of two state manufacturing licenses to Iowa Relief LLC for a facility in Cedar Rapids. The first Iowa manufacturing site was MedPharm Iowa, which opened in 2018 in Des Moines.

Iowa Relief built a 5,000-square-foot cannabis cultivation and processing plant at 1420 26th Ave. Ct. SW and started manufacturing a marijuana tincture there in 2019. But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the number of Iowans participating in the medical marijuana program fell off temporarily. Iowa Relief closed its operation and turned in its license in early 2020.

In February, the state gave Iowa Cannabis Co. a license to manufacture medical marijuana products at 5137 18th Ave. SW in Cedar Rapids. But in the months following, the company asked the Public Health Department if it could instead open its manufacturing plant in Iowa City.

Iowa Cannabis is connected with Cannabis & Glass, a large recreational marijuana store in Spokane, Wash. Owner Aaron Boshart told The Gazette in December 2019 profits from the Washington state stores help support its Iowa medical marijuana operations.

Boshart did not respond to a message seeking comment Friday.