Local leaders stunned no cannabis oil license awarded in the corridor
City leaders in Cedar Rapids, Coralville and Iowa City said they are thrilled there will soon be access to medical cannabidiol in the state, but they are also disappointed their cities won't have the chance to provide this kind of medical care close by.
"There's a big need. I just know there's a big need," said Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart.
Hart said he looked forward to accommodating medical needs in the corridor with a future cannabidiol dispensary.
"I really thought it was a least a bit of an economic development opportunity for us," he said.
However, neither Cedar Rapids, Coralville, nor Iowa City earned a licensed location.
"I was obviously disappointed," said Mike Carberry, Chair for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.
"I'm not necessarily surprised it wasn't Coralville, but I am surprised that it wasn't Cedar Rapids or Iowa City if it wasn't Coralville," said Coralville Mayor John Lundell.
Corridor cities did met the minimum score of 600 points to earn a dispensary license, but the Iowa Department of Public Health ultimately awarded the fifth license to Waterloo in the Eastern Iowa area.
"One of the requirements of Iowa law is that we have to ensure geographical distribution of the dispensaries throughout the state of Iowa," said Sarah Reisetter, Deputy Director with the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Yet, local leaders said having one in the corridor would make more sense.
"You add up of the communities of Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Iowa City [and] you throw in North Liberty, that's a significant amount of the state's population there," said Lundell.
"We are the second largest city in Iowa, and, once again, I don't think we're being treated like that," said Hart.
They also said there are many health care facilities in these cities that need closer access to cannabidiol.
"People are already coming from all around Eastern Iowa to Cedar Rapids and Iowa City for their medical treatment...medical care," said Hart.
They worry residents will be forced to travel too far for their medical needs.
"A lot of people that might be getting these prescriptions for that, might have transportation issues. We have a hard poverty rate in Johnson county. A lot of people don't have cars. they rely on public transit," said Carberry.
However, these cities say they are ready for a dispensary if the opportunity opens up again.
"We're ready and willing and able to house a license here," said Hart.
State health officials said no new locations will be considered for the license for now. It would take new legislation to make any changes to the number of licenses that can be awarded in the state.
The five locations chosen to have a licensed dispensary must accept their license by 9 a.m. Wednesday
If any decline, the state will decide if another location should be considered.