In the weeks and months immediately preceding this release, the Webster County attorney’s office has become aware of multiple individuals and businesses engaged in marketing, selling and distributing cannabidiol oil throughout the Fort Dodge and Webster County area.
In an effort to educate and inform the public on the current status of the legality of CBD oil, attorneys in this office have reviewed the relevant federal and state law on the topic and have consulted with additional authorities and offices with the State of Iowa. The following is the opinion of the Webster County attorney’s office and will be the framework by which any enforcement action is taken against those who fail to adhere to the opinions contained herein and the current laws of the State of Iowa.
Iowa Code Chapter 124E is the Medical Cannabidiol Act within the State of Iowa. This Act allows for the use of medical cannabidiol in the treatment of a “debilitating medical condition” pursuant to a certification provided by a health care practitioner. The language of this Act is rather strict and requires several elements to be met before an individual may utilize medical cannabidiol. Apart and aside from the specific criteria that must be met in order to legally use medical cannabidiol for the treatment of a debilitating medical condition, the medical cannabidiol must be provided by a licensed medical cannabidiol dispensary as approved by the Iowa Department of Public Health. While the above is an overly simplified explanation of the legal process involved in the use of medical cannabidiol in the State of Iowa, it is clear that CBD oil obtained from anywhere other than a licensed medical cannabidiol dispensary as approved by the Iowa Department of Public Health and used in a manner other than that permitted by Iowa Code Chapter 124E is illegal.
There has been some confusion regarding the legality of cannabidiol (CBD) oil based on the passage of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill by the U.S. Congress. The 2018 Farm Bill permits the production of hemp so long as it does not contain more than 0.3 percent THC and permits the product to be transported in interstate commerce. The confusion lies in the fact that this is a federal law and NOT a law adopted by the State of Iowa. The federal 2018 Farm Bill ensures that hemp will be legal, so long as hemp is produced in a manner consistent with that bill, relevant federal regulations and relevant state regulations. All other cannabinoids produced, marketed, distributed or purchased under any other circumstance remain a Schedule I controlled substance under state and federal law and are, therefore, illegal.
Based on the foregoing, it is clear to the Webster County attorney’s office that any products containing cannabidiol (CBD) oil, regardless of the percentage of THC contained therein, are illegal in Iowa unless the end user obtains that substance in compliance with the terms of Iowa Code Chapter 124E. Therefore, any cannabidiol (CBD) oil or other products containing CBD purchased online, over the counter, marketed and sold through independent salespersons or affiliates, or purchased through any other method is a violation of the laws of the State of Iowa.
This is an ever changing area of law and an area unknown to many people. As a result thereof, the Webster County attorney’s office felt obligated to inform and educate the public on this topic.
While there may be apparent benefits to the use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil, unless and until Iowa law is changed through legislative action, these products can only be obtained, produced, used and possessed in accordance with current Iowa law.
Any and all individuals and businesses engaged in marketing, selling, and distributing cannabidiol (CBD) oil within Webster County, be advised that this opinion will be shared with and adhered to by law enforcement agencies operating within Webster County. Please govern your conduct accordingly and until such time as the laws of the State of Iowa regarding cannabidiol (CBD) oil are revised, refrain from marketing, selling, distributing or possessing cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Any cannabidiol (CBD) oil currently in your possession should be immediately destroyed.
Ryan Baldridge is first assistant Webster County attorney.