Iowa Drug Testing Laws and Regulations



Statute of Order

Iowa Code Ann. §730.5

Covered Employers

Public and private employers.

Applicant Testing

Testing authorized as part of pre-employment physical examination if applicant is informed orally at time of application that drug test is required, and if ads and application forms carry notice of drug test.

Employee Testing

Testing authorized when there is probable cause to suspect substance abuse and employee holds job in which impairment would pose a danger, or during annual employee physical examination, if employee is given 30 days' notice. Random testing permitted so long as specific procedure in the law is followed using a computer-based random number generator that matches employee’s social security number or payroll identification number (selection from entire employee pool, full time employee pool or safety sensitive employee pool). Employers are permitted to conduct unannounced substance abuse testing to random employees. Substance abuse evaluation and opportunity for treatment are required for first positive test result. Discipline or discharge is authorized for subsequent positive result or failure to complete treatment.

Conditions & Methods

Opportunity for test subject to explain or rebut positive findings and to request confirmation through retesting. Confidentiality of test results and records of positive test are removed from personnel file when employee terminates if treatment program was successfully completed.

Important Bulletpoints

  • Information on existing Employee Assistance Programs must be posted conspicuously. As an alternative, employers must keep a resource file of service providers. Details on how to access such resource files must be posted as well.
  • All testing costs required of employees and prospective employees are to be paid by the employer. The only exception is if the employee requests for a retest. In which case, the employee pays an amount “consistent” with the cost of the first confirmatory test paid by the employer.
  • All tests must be confirmed then reviewed and interpreted by a competent medical review officer before any adverse employment action may be taken by the employer. Confirmation tests must be performed by a HHS-certified laboratory.
  • In the event of a confirmed positive test result, employers must send a certified mail notifying the employee of the test result and of the employee’s right to request a retest, which must be made within 7 days.
  • The results of the second confirmatory test shall be reviewed by the same medical review officer who interpreted the first confirmatory test. If the second confirmatory test result comes out different from the first, the test will be considered not positive and the cost of the second test will be reimbursed to the employee.
  • Employees who are found in violation of the drug free workplace policy of the employer may become ineligible to receive workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits.
  • Employers are not liable for any legal action that may be raised due to any employment action taken by the employer as per the compliant drug-free workplace policy in place.
  • Refusal to provide samples for substance abuse testing is a ground for possible disciplinary action from the employer, based on the written policy of the employer and drug testing law in Iowa.
  • Employers are required to put up an awareness program for the information of employees regarding the dangers of substance i.e. drug and alcohol use in the workplace.

Medical Marijuana Law

On July 1, 2014 Senate File 2360 created the Medical Cannabidiol Act under the Iowa Code Chapter 124D. It allowed the treatment of intractable epilepsy through the use of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid extracted from the cannabis plant. Under this law, patients who have certified recommendation from their neurologists can use and possess cannabidiol. Designated primary caregivers for qualified patients are likewise allowed to possess cannabidiol for said patients.1

The Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Transportation together established a process by which Cannabidiol Registration Cards are approved and released to patients and their caregivers.

Under this law, the cannabidiol oil should contain no more than 3% THC and ingested through oral or transdermal administration. A patient may possess no more than 32 ounces of cannabidiol oil while primary caregivers may possess the same amount for each patient under their care.

Qualifying Medical Condition

 Intractable epilepsy


• Cannabidiol is allowed for patients suffering from intractable epilepsy. No other medical conditions are included.

• The law only provides for an affirmative defense for patients and their caregivers if they are ever charged with possession of the extract. For everybody else, marijuana possession and sale remain illegal. Selling marijuana in Iowa is a felony punishable by up to 50 years in prison depending on volume, location of the sale and the person's criminal history.

• The law does not include any provision for how to legally obtain CBD oil in-state. It remains illegal to produce it in Iowa or to transport across state lines.

In 2015, legislation meant to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest and prosecution and another that was meant to reduce the maximum sentence for possession of up to 5 grams of marijuana to 30 days in jail NEVER made it to the debates. Iowa marijuana laws remain very stringent. Anyone caught in possession of even a single marijuana joint can face up to 6 months in jail AND fined up to $1000.00 even if it's a first offense.

Effects on Workplace Drug Testing

The Medical Cannabidiol Act is very limited and does not in any way affect employers' rights to keep their workplaces drug and alcohol free. Employers who do not already have an existing drug test policy are totally within their rights to build one that explicitly addresses employee marijuana use in the interest of maintaining employee performance, safety and productivity.



Qualifying patient, primary caregiver, principal officer, board member, employee/agent of a non-profit dispensary with the proper valid registry identification card.

Quantity Allowed

The allowed quantity must not be more than a half-ounce of usable marijuana, or is not more than six marijuana plants that are kept in locked and enclosed facility unless the marijuana plants are being transported due to the relocation of the qualifying patient. Any unusable marijuana (stalk, seed, unusable root) are excluded from the amount of allowed marijuana.

How Obtained

Cultivation of medical marijuana and through non-profit dispensaries.

Liability Protections

A physician licensed under the stipulations of chapter to practice medicine is exempted from criminal/civil persecution when prescribing marijuana for medical reasons to a qualifying patient. A qualifying patient (registered and with ID) is not liable by law for acquiring, possessing, cultivating, manufacturing, transporting or transferring of marijuana or its related paraphernalia. A registered primary caregiver and registered non-profit dispensary are exempted from arrest, penalty or prosecution for acquiring, possessing, cultivating, manufacturing, delivering, transferring, transporting, selling, dispensing marijuana and related supplies and/or educational materials to qualifying patients. Any property, paraphernalia used in conjunction with the use of medical marijuana shall not be forfeited or seized.

Statutory Requirements for Authorized Use

A qualifying patient must be able to present a signed statement from his physician that he/she needs medical marijuana for alleviating pain caused by a stipulated debilitating disease. The patient must be registered under Iowa Department of Health to be issued out a registry identification card. A visiting qualifying patient with a registry ID card from any state, district, territory, or insular possession of the United States that permits the use of marijuana for medical purposes shall have the same privileges as a registered qualifying patient from Iowa.

<< Back to List of States

Material on these pages (state drug testing laws and drug testing regulations) is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, medical or technical advice. This drug testing related information is not intended as substitute for obtaining legal advice from attorney, or a relevant medical technical or financial professional. TestCountry is not a law firm or a legal agency, therefore cannot guarantee the accuracy of this content. Drug testing laws are collected from legal and/or state sources, and it may or may not be valid by the time you are viewing it. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Confirm BioSciences Inc. DBA TestCountry.