WINDSOR HEIGHTS, Iowa -- Sleek interior. Open spaces. Tables with iPads.
It looks like it could be an Apple Store. But it's actually one of Iowa's five medical cannabis dispensaries, which are set to open across the state Saturday after a years-long fight from advocated.
“This is day of big time celebration for our patients for the state," said Lucas Nelson, director of operations for MedPharm Iowa, the state's only manufacturer of medical cannabis products. It also operates two of the state's five dispensaries: one in Sioux City and the other in Windsor Heights, a Des Moines suburb.
All dispensaries will start selling products---which come in capsules, solution-based tinctures and creams with varying amounts of CBD and THC---December 1, in accordance with the 2017 state law, which allowed medical cannabis to be grown, manufactured and sold in Iowa. Right now, only a certain number of medical conditions qualify like Epilepsy, Crohn's disease and cancer.
The products range from $30-$130 and Nelson suggests bringing cash since card readers might not be up and running by Saturday.
He also says MedPharm's dispensaries were designed to make Iowans feel comfortable when exploring which products might be best suited for their needs.
"We wanted this to be an area that you were happy to come stop by—so you didn’t feel like it was some sort of stigmatized thing," Nelson said.
Patients will fill out an in-take form to give consultants an idea of the pain they are trying to treat so they can have the proper product and dosage. You must have a state-issued cannabis card in order to purchase any products.
The most recent data from the Iowa Department of Public Health shows 499 people statewide have cannabis cards, a figure that includes patients and caregivers. These cards are issued by the Iowa DOT. Caregivers can also have their own cards. 325 physicians are registered to certify patients, according to the department's Office of Medical Cannabidiol.
Here is a list of the dispensaries in Iowa:
If you have any questions, you can contact the Iowa Department of Public Health's Office of Medical Cannabidiol here.