Iowa Marijuana Laws

Marijuana use, both medical and recreational, is illegal in Iowa. The state permits registered patients limited use of CBD with strict regulations on THC ratio. Over a 90-day period, patients can purchase products that contain up to 4.5 grams of THC.  Approved consumption methods are restricted to oral, topical, and vaporization.

Iowa marijuana laws



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Marijuana is illegal in Iowa for any use, except for limited, non-intoxicating medical use. Paraphernalia and concentrates are also banned. The state imposes relatively harsh penalties on even low-level offenders, and no aspect of cannabis is decriminalized.


Possession of any amount of marijuana for personal use is a misdemeanor. The top penalties for a first offense are 6 months in jail and $1,000 in fines. The maximum sentence for a second offense is 1 year in jail and $1,875 in fines. A third and subsequent offense carries a top penalty of 2 years in prison and $6,250 in fines. Drug treatment may be imposed on offenders deemed to be addicts.

Offense Penalty Incarceration Max. Fine
Any amount (first offense) Misdemeanor 6 months $ 1,000
Any amount (second offense) Misdemeanor 1 year $ 1,875
Any amount (third offense) Misdemeanor 2 years $ 6,250
Offenders who are chronic abusers of marijuana may be sent to rehab.

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Cultivation or Distribution

Delivery or possession with intent to deliver half an ounce of marijuana without remuneration is treated the same as simple possession in Iowa.

Any other cultivation, distribution, or sale of cannabis is a felony. If the weight is 50 kilograms or less, the top penalty is 5 years in prison and a $7,500 fine. If the weight is between 50 and 100 kilograms, penalties increase to a maximum of 10 years in prison and $50,000. For amounts between 100 and 1,000 kilograms, the sentence tops out at 25 years in prison and $100,000. And for amounts exceeding 1,000 kilograms, the potential sentence is 50 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

Any sale of distribution involving a minor is a felony, subject to a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison, a maximum of 25 years, and potential fines of $100,000. Selling to a minor within 1000 feet of a park, school or school bus comes with an increased mandatory minimum of 10 years imprisonment, as well as a $100,000 maximum fine.

Offense Penalty Incarceration Max. Fine
50 kg or less Felony 5 years $ 7,500
50 – 100 kg Felony 10 years $ 50,000
100 – 1000 kg Felony 25 years $ 100,000
More than 1000 kg Felony 50 years $ 1,000,000
Involving a minor Felony 5* – 25 years $ 100,000
To a minor within 1000 feet of a park, elementary or middle school, or school bus Felony 10 years* $ 100,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence
Distribution includes possession with intent to distribute

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Concentrated marijuana, including oils and hashish, is treated the same as other cannabis. That means there are no extra penalties for possession, cultivation, sale, or distribution, and the same weight limits apply.

Offense Penalty Incarceration Max. Fine
Penalties for hashish are the same as for marijuana except in one circumstance. Please see the marijuana penalties section for further details.

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Marijuana paraphernalia includes any items used in the cultivation, harvesting, processing, testing, analysis, storage, or use of marijuana.

Any possession, distribution or manufacture of marijuana paraphernalia is a misdemeanor in Iowa, and the maximum possible penalty is 6 months in jail and $1000 in fines.

Offense Penalty Incarceration Max. Fine
Possession, distribution, or manufacture of paraphernalia Misdemeanor 6 months $ 1,000

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It is a misdemeanor in Iowa to sponsor, promote, or assist in a gathering where marijuana will be possessed, used, or distributed. The top punishment is 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,875.

Offense Penalty Incarceration Max. Fine
Sponsoring, promoting, or assisting in a gathering where marijuana will be used, distributed, or possessed Misdemeanor 1 year $ 1,875
Possession with intent to sell large amounts can lead to an automatic driver’s license suspension.

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Medical Marijuana


Iowa’s has legalized the use and possession of CBD oil for patients suffering from any of a list of debilitating conditions. However, since licensed dispensaries are not yet operational, the only way patients can obtain CBD is to obtain it from neighboring states with similar programs (see HF 524).


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Autism (with self-injurous or aggressive behavior)
  • Cancer
  • Cancer-related chronic pain, nausea, or cachexia
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Intractable epilepsy
  • Terminal illness
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Chronic pain

Limited amounts of CBD oil


Not yet. HF 425 allows the establishment of two state-licensed medical cannabis manufacturers.


HF 524 allows qualifying patients to obtain medical cannabis from neighboring states in which CBD is legal.

Marijuana Attorney Directory

Iowa Marijuana Attorneys

The following Iowa lawyers are actively involved in the practice of cannabis law:

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