No plans now for new medical marijuana dispensaries

DES MOINES — While the Iowa Department of Public Health put out a request for proposal last week for a second company to manufacture medical marijuana — there are no plans to add licenses for more dispensaries.

D-P-H deputy director Sarah Reisetter says the law only allows five dispensary licenses.  “For us to be able to offer additional dispensary licenses, the legislature would need to change the statute,” Reisetter explains.

A Cedar Rapids city council member called for more licenses after the recent awarding of licenses Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Windsor Heights, Waterloo and Davenport. He says some Iowans will have to drive a long way to get to the dispensaries. Reisetter says the Health Department will keep an eye on the situation as the products start being distributed. “We will certainly collect information and we will collect feedback. We want to be a source of information for the people in the program,” Reisetter says. “Being the regulators and being the people who maintain the patient registry, we are a natural place to hear some of those concerns and questions that a patient may have.”

She says there is another way for people in the program to provide feedback. Reisetter says the medical cannabidial board is another way for people to give input on changes in the law as she says the board makes an annual report to the Iowa Legislature on January 1st of every year. She says they will keep the board up to day and she says the board has a public comment period at every meeting.

Reisetter says they want to be sure they are hearing from those involved in the program. “Certainly we will provide feedback in terms of information that we are receiving, and our advisory board might decide to make a recommendation as well,” Reisetter says.

MedPharm Iowa is required to have the medical marijuana products available by December 1st of this year.

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