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Becoming a Medical Marijuana Patient in Iowa

David Bowman

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Only Iowa patients with intractable epilepsy are eligible to get a legal recommendation for CBD oil under SF 2360. They must obtain the recommendation from a neurologist has treated the patient for intractable epilepsy for at least six months. The physician need not be licensed in Iowa, so long as the physician's license is in good standing. Once obtaining a recommendation from a neurologist, the patient must register with the state Department of Public Health in order to have legal protection. The Department shall issue regulations more clearly defining the enrollment process later in 2014 or some time in 2015.

What's Legal
The program created under SF 2360 is extremely restrictive, only allowing access to CBD oil with less than 3% THC to patients with seizure disorders.

Eligible Conditions
The only qualifying condition under SF 2360 is "intractable epilepsy," which is defined in the law as an epileptic seizure disorder for which standard medical treatment does not prevent or significantly ameliorate recurring, uncontrolled seizures or for which standard medical treatment results in harmful side effects.

Application Process
The application process will be developed by the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The law requires that a physician must be treating a patient for intractable epilepsy for at least six months prior to being eligible to recommend CBD oil to the patient. Only an allopathic or osteopathic physician board-certified in neurology may recommend CBD oil under Iowa law.

Caregivers are allowed under SF 2360. Caregivers must be at least 18 years of age and may not consume a patient's medicine. They must register when the patient applies to the Dept. of Public Health by submitting a similar application as the patient. Rules for the caregiver application process are currently being developed by the Iowa Dept. of Public Health.

There are no restrictions on how or where a patient may consumer their CBD oil; however, patients do not have access to cannabis in it's dried flower form under SF 2360.

Age Limits
SF 2360 does not impose age restrictions.

The patient registry maintained by the Department of Public Health must be confidential. Authorized state employees may only access the confidential registry to confirm that a patient or caergiver in possession of CBD oil is registered in the program. Confidentiality must comply with federal HIPPA requirements.

The law is silent on housing protections for patients.

The law is silent on employment protections for patients.

The law is silent on insurance coverage.

Out of State Patients
Iowa's CBD law does not have reciprocity for out of state patients

Source: ASA: Becoming a Patient in Iowa
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