Iowa Selects State’s First Medical Marijuana Manufacturer

DES MOINES, Iowa -- In about a year from now Iowans looking to use cannabidol to treat a select group of illnesses will be able to buy the oil in state.

MedPharm Iowa will be the state's only producer of cannabidol, and now that they've been selected, there's a lot of work to be done between now and when they can start production.

MedPharm Iowa submitted their proposal at the end of October and were selected as the state's lone producer.  Between now and December they must build a multimillion dollar growing and extracting facility which will be constructed on the Kemin Industries campus, on the southside of Des Moines.

However, there will be more steps before the product hits the shelves.  In April the Department of Public Health will ask companies looking to become dispensers to submit their proposals.

“They will then grant hopefully licenses to five different companies to do dispensaries. Those dispensaries are our customers” said MedPharm Iowa’s President, Dr. Chris Nelson.

People like Sally Gaer, who uses low level hemp oil to treat her daughter's rare form of epilepsy, says being able to buy higher THC content oil in-state may improve her daughter's condition.

“She's been on it for two years now and I think it's leveled out. So, we've always been curious if she can benefit from some TCHA, can she benefit from THC, or some other cannabidol that we haven't been able to access in Iowa” said Gaer.

Gaer says having it accessible here would make it far easier for others to try it for the first time.

“I think there are so many sick and suffering that don't even have the ability, they're not healthy enough to travel to even go get something somewhere else. So to be able to buy it here will be huge” she said.

Dr. Nelson says that the next step is to promote research on cannabis.

“Because this is a schedule one drug right now, the federal government basically has the right to cut off funding to a university that would start to utilize that without their control” said Dr. Nelson.

Dr. Nelson says there are over 500 compounds in cannabis that may have an effect on the human body.

Dr. Nelson is also the President and CEO of Kemin Industries.