Yes, most CBD products are still illegal under Iowa law

Local News

DES MOINES –– The 2019 Iowa Hemp Act and recent changes in federal law have led to questions about what is legal and safe in Iowa. The Iowa Attorney General’s Office has released an official statement to help consumers, businesses and farmers understand state and federal laws and avoid misleading and possibly fraudulent claims.

Here’s the bottom line: Any product containing cannabidiol is currently classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under Iowa law and is, thus, illegal. At this time, the only exceptions to this classification are FDA-approved medications and Iowa’s medical CBD program, which is administered by the Iowa Department of Public Health. That program is open only to people with state-issued registration cards and only through licensed dispensaries.

Right now, it is not legal to grow, manufacture, or process hemp in Iowa. The earliest hemp production could be allowed is the 2020 growing season.

When the Iowa Hemp Act (Senate File 599) becomes fully effective, CBD products containing no more than 0.3% THC will no longer be controlled substances under Iowa law. However, this does not mean that all such products will become legal. 

Items such as cloth, cordage, fiber, fuel, paint, paper, particle board, and plastic will be able to be legally produced. Section 7 of the act, however, clarifies that hemp-derived CBD can be added only to products intended for human consumption to the extent consistent with applicable federal law. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved most CBD products intended for human consumption.

The only hemp-derived products that the FDA has approved to be marketed in human foods are hulled hemp seed, hemp seed protein powder, and hemp seed oil, which do not contain CBD.

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals issued a regulatory notice in May 2019 that food establishments that offer food (including supplements) containing CBD or food processing plants that manufacture or distribute food containing CBD are in violation of the law.  License holders will be subject to violations and ordered to remove products from shelves.

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division issued a regulatory bulletin in June 2019 to license and permit holders indicating that CBD and THC are prohibited in alcoholic beverages sold in Iowa. 

The Iowa Department of Public Health has also issued a statement regarding the state’s medical cannabidiol program and CBD products.

Consumers should contact the Consumer Protection Division if they have consumer complaints about any products or services:


Phone: 515-281-5926 (toll-free number outside of the Des Moines area: 888-777-4590)


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