Aug 3, 2022 - Business

Iowa's medical marijuana program enters a new era

Bud & Mary's interior

The inside of Bud & Mary's Windsor Heights location. Photo courtesy of Bud & Mary's

Just two years ago, Medpharm Iowa said it was struggling to sustain its operations, due to low patient demand under the state's restrictive medical cannabidiol program.

  • But after the state expanded its medical marijuana program in 2020, the company has undergone major expansions this year — changing its branding to the trendier Bud & Mary's — and plans to invest $10 million into its local growing facility.

Why it matters: The expansion and branding shift for Bud & Mary's signals a new, more casual era to access the state's medical marijuana program.

  • Where MedPharm said it struggled to survive under the state's previous 3% THC cap — it now is rapidly growing under no cap — even selling hoodies and t-shirts touting "THC" and "good vibes."

State of play: Just a few years ago, MedPharm, one of the state's few medical marijuana manufacturers, struggled to distinguish its more expensive CBD products from those found at smoke shops and gas stations.

  • But in 2020, Iowa lifted THC caps and allowed patients with chronic pain to access the program — a dramatic change allowed the company to sell higher THC products that have prompted a surge of new patients and revenue for Bud & Mary's.
  • Now, Bud & Mary's mirrors the trendier dispensaries in larger states — selling vapes and even wax.

Between the lines: More doctors and nurses are getting into the business of issuing medical marijuana cards to patients — with some practitioners dedicated solely to the business.

What's next: Bud & Mary's is expanding its production warehouse in Des Moines' southside and adding 22,000 square-feet to its 15,000 square foot space.

  • It's also lobbying the Legislature next year to approve "flower" aka, the sale of the actual, dehydrated marijuana plant.

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