Iowa awards two additional medical cannabis dispensary licenses

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Iowa regulators awarded medical marijuana dispensary licenses to operators in Iowa City and Council Bluffs to replace two outlets that closed in March.

The licenses will bring the state back up to five dispensaries, according to The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette.

The dispensary licenses were awarded to:

  • Iowa Cannabis Company East in Iowa City.
  • Cannabis Patient Network in Council Bluffs.

Should the firms not accept the licenses, regulators have other applicants from which to choose.

The state’s three other licensed dispensaries are in Waterloo, Sioux City and Windsor Heights.

Regulators also announced this month that applications would be accepted for a second cultivator/processor after multistate marijuana operator Acreage Holdings, doing business as Iowa Relief, dropped out of the market.

MedPharm Iowa of Des Moines is currently the only operating cultivator/processor.

The dispensary and cultivator/processor moves will put Iowa’s limited, 2-year-old MMJ program back at full strength, or the maximum licenses allowed.

But questions remain about whether the program can be economically viable, given the low-THC content allowed and the limited number of licenses.

While most marijuana markets across the country have experienced strong demand during the coronavirus crisis, Iowa’s MMJ sales have been weak because of high prices, limited access and, until recently, logistical challenges to registering or renewing patient cards.