Iowa’s first medical cannabis manufacturer and dispenser, MedPharm Iowa, is slated to begin selling products on December 1.
Around 1,000 Iowans are expecting to have received doctors’ approval to use medical marijuana by the time dispensaries open at the beginning of next month, Lucas Nelson, MedPharm Iowa’s general manager, told Clay & Milk.
Upon opening, MedPharm Iowa will offer a total of 14 different products from two dispensaries in the state, one in Sioux City and one in Windsor Heights.
“We’re really looking in forward to hearing from our patients,” Nelson said “Where they need to go, what forms they’re looking for, what formulations might better benefit them and what results they’re seeing.”
Last week, the facility held a grand opening and invited patients, legislators, and advocates to tour the growing laboratory and operations.
MedPharm Iowa is currently pushing for legislators to lift Iowa’s current 3 percent cap on THC.
“That’s certainly our number one legislative goal at this point,” Nelson said. “I think that process has been very challenging because there is as much information and confusion around that percentage cap as there is anything in this program.”
The 3 percent cap limits MedPharm Iowa’s ability to create products that can properly and effectively treat some patients needs.
“For one reason or another, this program ended up with a cap on products and the way that’s really rearing its head is with our patients that require higher doses. It is really hard to get them to the doses they need.” Nelson said. “And for any patient who would like to take an inhaled form, such as vaporization, it becomes almost impossible for us to formulate any product that has any sort of ability to be used anywhere in a normal price range for the patient.”
Nelson told Clay & Milk that being the first to open in the state comes with its own set on unique challenges.
“It’s certainly made for some extra challenge. There’s no doubt about that. But it’s been useful too because we’ve been able to shape the way this program goes,” said Nelson. “Some of the biggest challenges have been that we still have some folks responsible for overseeing this program that want to hear from multiple operators as far as improvement to the program.”
Going forward, MedPharm Iowa wants to become more of an educational resource for the entire state.
“What we saw was that if we weren’t the ones going to be out there bringing this info to patients, legislators, and communities, then it probably wasn’t going to happen,” Nelson said. “We’re seeking to be a resource for everyone across the state. So we’re happy to present on this topic, answer questions, meet with people and do anything we can to keep pushing this program forward.”