Unlicensed Sale of CBD Products in Iowa

The battle against illegal CBD sellers has finally stretched its long arm across the country to Council Bluffs, Iowa. 

In a recent development (Aug 5), many businesses in the city have received letters from top officials in the state reminding them that the sale of CBD and its products remains illegal in Iowa. 

The only exception to this law are those sellers that are licensed by the State itself. The warning letters are asking business owners to immediately stop selling CBD products or else risk legal action when found in violation of the law.

According to Lt. Chad Meyers, who heads the Southwest Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, the whole situation started with letters of complaint that came in from various residents of Council Bluffs. 

Most were expressing their discontent over the new different sellers of CBD products in the area that they weren’t sure of, especially since they knew only one legally certified local CBD seller: the state-licensed dispensary at 3615 Ninth Avenue.

Swinging into immediate action, the Southwest Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force decided to create and send warning letters to any businesses currently involved in the sale of CBD and CBD products across the city. 

The letters, which were hand-delivered by members of the Task Force to hundreds of individual businesses across Council Bluffs, also served to notify unlicensed CBD sellers that there would be future compliance checks to weed out any remaining illegal sellers.

Iowa’s Problem with Marijuana

Iowa’s fraught relationship with marijuana and cannabis seems unusual, especially now given that almost every American state has legalized the recreational herb. But despite how it might appear, Iowa hasn’t actually outlawed the herb in its entirety.

The state allows the use of CBD – cannabidiol – but only in medical situations, which explains the friction the state seems to have with recreational users of the drug. According to the State’s Medical Cannabidiol Act, the manufacturing and distribution of medical cannabidiol is only allowed through two specific manufacturers that the State has licensed. 

Additionally, only individuals with registration cards issued by the state can receive these drugs, and they can only be dispensed from the State’s licensed dispensaries, of which only five exist currently. 

One of those licensed dispensaries is located in Council Bluffs, the aforementioned dispensary at 3615 Ninth Avenue that is locally known as Have a Heart Compassionate Care. 

In other words, any other manufacturer of CBD and CBD products in Council Bluffs is doing it illegally, as is anyone accessing CBD products without having a registration card from businesses posing as dispensaries when they, in fact, aren’t.

Iowa’s Law on CBD

The situation above is echoed by a memo from Iowa’s Attorney General that was added to the letter delivered by the Southwest Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force. In the memo, which is essentially a legal clarification on the topic, Tom Miller, Iowa’s Attorney General, further explains why selling CBD and CBD products individually is considered illegal in Council Bluffs. 

According to Miller, it all starts with marijuana. As a plant with psychoactive components, marijuana is officially marked as a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the State of Iowa. The State’s definition of marijuana also encompasses cannabis, which is where CBD is extracted. 

By extension, therefore, CBD is also considered marijuana in Iowa. And consequently, CBD is also marked as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Attorney General Miller also remarked on the dispensing issue, stating that ‘It remains illegal in Iowa to sell, manufacture or distribute CBD products outside of the five licensed retailers.” 

Nonetheless, citizens of Iowa and Council Bluffs, in particular, have continued spreading the CBD love, mostly by creating CBD products such as confectioneries and tinctures for sale. 

Iowa’s quest for quality

Apart from a desire by the city of Council Bluffs (and Iowa by extension) to keep all associations with marijuana and its components (such as CBD) strictly medical, there are other reasons for its limitations on the making, sale and distribution of CBD. 

For one thing, it’s easier to keep out high individuals by not legalizing cannabis for recreational use in the first place. The use of cannabis and its products such as CBD has been linked to lots of negative outcomes, such as increased criminal behavior. 

It’s also an issue of quality; having individual makers and distributors of cannabis and CBD lowers the quality almost automatically. Having fewer people associated with the sale of CBD also makes its movement through the city easier to monitor, and that’s something any city’s leadership would want.

How to get CBD products in Council Bluffs

For lovers of CBD (also the CBD products such as oil and edibles) and those who need it for specific medical needs, there are only a few ways to access CBD in Council Bluffs. The State of Iowa has licensed only five dispensaries to deal in CBD products, and all for only medical reasons. 

Only one of those five, Have a Heart Compassionate Care, is located in Council Bluffs on Ninth Avenue, which is quite easy to access. Still, you can only access CBD from there if you’ve got a registration card, and you’re expected to need it for medical reasons. 

The dispensary itself offers mainly CBD capsules, CBD tinctures and CBD-derived topical creams, among other derivatives. Since making one’s own CBD products is also illegal, Council Bluff’s residents have to rely on MedPharm, the only state-licensed manufacturer of CBD products in Iowa. 

If you’re looking to use CBD or marijuana for recreational purposes, going the legal route might be difficult. The safe option is to get – and use – them from another state.

For now, CBD remains a danger zone for sellers in Iowa. With the State’s backing, the narcotics task force is promising legal action for any other sellers found dispensing the drug after its warning. 

Meyers may render the task’s goal as simple as to help retailers understand that they can’t sell products containing CBD, but there is definitely more coming for unauthorized sellers.

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