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Low Profits in Iowa Medical Marijuana Market Due to Regulations

August 25, 2020

After two years since legalization of medical marijuana in the state of Iowa, the program is struggling to produce sufficient financial gains. The lack of profits are said to be attributed to low THC levels, outstanding prices, and lack of physician participation. 

Although most states across the country with a legal medical marijuana market have experienced an uptick in demand since the onset of Covid-19, Iowa is not following suit. Patients reliant on the medical cannabis industry have faced hurdles in renewing or registering their MMJ cards due to complications brought on by the pandemic. 

With two of the state’s five dispensaries closing their doors for business, MMJ sales are on pace to bring in just $3.2 million in 2020, though it was projected between $7-9 million. 

Restrictive Iowa Medical Marijuana Programs Are Proving To Be Less Viable 

Iowa Medical Marijuana’s low-THC program serves as proof to what many experts have warned: that restrictive programs are less viable and tend to result in losses rather than profits. With Washington-state based Have A Heart closing it’s two dispensaries in Council Bluffs and Waterloo in March, the state of Iowa is left with just three operational dispensaries. 

Additionally, New York based Acreage Holdings closed its Iowa Relief cultivation and processing operation in June, leaving Iowa with a singular cultivator/processor. 

Program Leaders Knew That Profits Would Be Difficult To Come By 

Director of operations Aaron Boshart and Iowa Cannabis CEO Tate Kapple admitted the market in Iowa would be difficult to turn a profit due to the highly regulated market which allows only for extracts to be sold. Conservative attitudes in the state have also contributed to a lack of demand for medical cannabis products. 

Boshart, however, remains “committed to the Iowa market,” asserting that the industry, “is prepared to forgo profitability to provide access to the patients of Iowa.” 

Whether or not new businesses and multistate operators (MSOs) in the cannabis industry are also committed to the Iowa medical marijuana market remains to be seen, but current forecasts appear bleak.

Contributed by Jack Berning