Nov 20, 2023 - Business

Iowa orders Despensary to suspend consumable CBD, THC sales

The storefront for Despensary at Ingersoll

The new location of Despensary on Ingersoll Avenue. Photo: Jason Clayworth/Axios

Despensary, a popular shop selling CBD and THC products in Des Moines, has been suspended by the state from selling consumable hemp products for 30 days.

Driving the news: The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) wrote in a letter sent to Despensary on Nov. 14 that the suspension was due to the business selling "non-conforming" products at its Court Avenue store and online.

  • The department will also not consider approving consumable CBD and THC products for Despensary's planned second location on Ingersoll until its current Court Avenue location is under compliance, according to the letter, which the department shared with Axios.

Yes, but: Despensary's chief operating officer Sabrina Bergloff tells Axios its products all conform with the state's guidelines and there's been a lack of communication from HHS.

Why it matters: Iowa strictly regulates recreational marijuana, but some hemp products are legal as long as the THC is capped at .3%.

  • That's created confusion and gray area as loopholes have helped Delta 8 and Delta 9 products become more popular, and there are still conflicting rules between state and federal laws.

How it works: Retailers that sell consumable hemp, such as Delta 9 gummies, and cannabis-infused drinks, are required annually to send their product list to the state for approval.

State of play: On Aug. 23, Despensary sent a list for review, according to the suspension letter. The state declined multiple "hemp-based flower products" on the list because they didn't meet the state's testing requirements for consumable hemp.

  • Despensary removed those products from their list and the store's registration was approved Aug. 31.
  • On Sept. 2, Despensary tried to get the flower products approved again. But the state's suspension letter noted Despensary sent duplicate documents that were already not approved.
  • On Sept. 30, state officials found Despensary was selling the unapproved flower products, resulting in the suspension.

What they're saying: "Despensary has continually failed to comply with Iowa law, as demonstrated by multiple historical actions against its registrations," the letter notes.

The other side: Bergloff says she did not hear back from the state in September regarding the flower and believed the store could sell it.

  • She also believes the products met the state's testing requirements and noted Iowa's hemp regulations are stricter than what's required under federal law.

Meanwhile, Bergloff submitted an already-approved list of cannabis products for the Ingersoll store and believes the state should approve them rather than tying it to the Court Avenue location.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Des Moines.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Des Moines stories

No stories could be found

Des Moinespostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Des Moines.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more