First in a two-part series on medical cannabidiol dispensaries opening in Iowa.
Second in a two-part series on the opening of Iowa’s medical cannabidiol dispensaries.
WATERLOO — Aaron Boshart could have continued his career in marijuana in Spokane, Wash., serving thousands of customers daily as part of the state’s legal recreational marijuana market.
Instead, he’s back in his home state, getting ready to open one of Iowa’s first five medical cannabidiol dispensaries, a much different market with very different products and a whole host of new regulations.
“Definitely the industry here is a lot different than recreational,” Boshart said. “We have some new challenges in terms of getting our stuff up to speed, understanding the clinical side.”
But Boshart, director of operations for Iowa Cannabis Co., as well as his CEO, Tate Kapple, decided they were up for the challenge.
“Tate and I are both from Iowa originally,” Boshart said. “When we saw the opportunity to participate in Iowa, Tate and I were both excited to jump into the market.”
The pair won one of five dispensary licenses awarded by the Iowa Department of Public Health, which oversees the medical cannabidiol market approved by the Iowa Legislature last year, and they’ve been getting ready to open Iowa Cannabis Co. at 1955 La Porte Road in Waterloo ever since.
They’ll open their doors Saturday, along with the other four dispensaries around the state, selling creams, gel capsules and tinctures manufactured by MedPharm Iowa, the state’s only medical cannabidiol manufacturer, based in Des Moines.
Iowa Cannabis Co. will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. open Monday through Saturday.
Below is an interview with Boshart as he prepares to open:
What made you want to leave a booming recreational market in Washington and come to Iowa, where marijuana is much more restricted?
"(Iowa Cannabis Co. CEO) Tate (Kapple) and I are both from Iowa originally. I grew up here. Tate started operating dispensaries in Spokane -- one of the first in the state. We were having success in Washington, but when we saw the opportunity to participate in Iowa, Tate and I were both excited to jump into the market. We were fortunate enough to win Waterloo.
"Definitely, the industry here is a lot different than recreational -- it's a very medical market and CBD (cannabidiol)-specific market. We have some new challenges in terms of getting our stuff up to speed, understanding the clinical side. We brought on a pharmacist adviser, who we had along with us through the application process and now as we are opening up the dispensary, so we've had some really good guidance in dispelling some of the myths of cannabis. We've done a lot to make sure we understand what we're doing -- we always want to be the experts in our field."
What what the patient experience will be like inside Iowa Cannabis Co.?
"When we open up, we will have five employees here -- and that may grow, and I hope it does as the industry begins to grow. At this time, Iowa has only one manufacturer -- MedPharm -- though an additional manufacturer has been licensed, Iowa Relief (LLC, based in Cedar Rapids). They're owned by Acreage Holdings (based in New Jersey), a very large company in the cannabis industry. They'll be there in July 2019. So until then, there are just 14 unique products by MedPharm.
"We have capsules, tinctures and creams, with variations on dosing starting at very high CBD and low THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), all the way up to very high THC and low CBD."
Isn't the highest THC content, by Iowa law, no more than 3 percent?
"It's 3 percent by volume, so milligram dosing doesn't have a limit. The highest-end THC will have 20 milligrams of THC, so that's about four times a recreational dose sizing. It's usually about 5 milligrams (of THC) for an edible, for example. It's fairly high, but it's meant to be effective for people with certain types of conditions."
(MedPharm's website confirms they will sell a high-THC "Comfort" capsule, with the highest dose being 20 milligrams of THC and 1 milligram of CBD per capsule.)
First in a two-part series on medical cannabidiol dispensaries opening in Iowa.
What are the differences in the products?
"Pain, spasms, nausea, vomiting, sleep -- those are typically on the high-THC end of things. The CBD helps to sort of cushion, as they say, the intoxicating effects of THC -- you can reduce the psychoactive effects. CBD is also great for (those symptoms), but it really works for seizures -- it's kind of a miracle.
"I don't claim to be a doctor. In some states, like Minnesota, they do have pharmacists dispensing, and they do treat it more like a drug. There's differing opinions nationwide, but having a pharmacist at these dispensaries is a challenge, in the rural areas especially."
How do people know the products are safe?
"We have a unique perspective on this coming from the recreational market: We sell over-the-counter, and we've served over a million customers in the state of Washington, and we've done that successfully, never having serious issues -- no situations that were dangerous or had such negative effects that they were hospitalized.
"Cannabis is, by nature, a natural substance, and therefore is relatively safe as long as it's prepared responsibly. MedPharm has extremely rigorous lab standards they are being held to by the Iowa Department of Public Health. The products themselves are just very safe. As long as we are in the habit of following our guidelines -- our motto is to start slow and go slow. We want to make sure people aren't taking too much THC."
How many customers are you expecting when you open?
"We expect there to be about a thousand customers -- patients that have already obtained their certification from the Department of Public Health. Given that, those people are essentially waiting for us. With that in mind, we're preparing ourselves to be able to handle quite a few patients in the first several weeks, as people learn we're finally open. I imagine there will be some pent-up demand.
"In Spokane, we often see between 1,000 and 1,500 customers every day, so we understand what it takes to run a high-volume store."
Since doctors have to certify patients, are you worried that will present an issue? The Des Moines Register said only about 325 of Iowa's 7,000 doctors have certified any patients.
"As you're seeing a new market like this open up, it presents a complicated scenario for some physicians. A lot of physicians are bound by the rules of their employer, and many in large health-care systems have been given a memorandum on this subject. And so those doctors, when they're asked that question, have to say they can't -- it's part of what they're bound to.
"And the federal government -- (marijuana is) still a Schedule 1 substance, so there's the potential for a doctor that is actively recommending cannabis to potentially lose their DEA certification, though I haven't seen that before. So there's still some general fear of the unknown, as we live in the gray area between state and federal.
DES MOINES (AP) — Only about 325 of Iowa’s 7,000 doctors have certified people for the state’s new medical marijuana program, in part because many are uneasy about their role in the system.
"For most of the patients being referred, they're at a point where nothing has worked and they want to try something new. A lot of people are desperate, and a lot of (doctors) understand it's worth the risk to help their patients. As time goes on, you'll have a lot more physicians being educated.
"But we don't see that as a huge obstacle. We see that as our job to help those patients who want to get a (patient registration) card and connecting them with doctors that will help.
"We're excited to provide this new form of treatment to the patient of Iowa. We just want people to stop in, give us a call. We'll do everything we can to help people navigate the system of getting a card and navigating the products."
CEDAR FALLS — Construction on University Avenue is all but finished in Cedar Falls, according to city officials.
“The project is substantially complete,” said Stephanie Houk Sheetz, director of community development. “We’re working on the final details of closing out the project and any payments one way or another that are due.”
Construction is anticipated to finish soon on the remaining portion of the project’s second phase. The third phase, between Grove and Main streets under Iowa Highway 58 — including construction of a double roundabout at the on- and off-ramps under the highway — finished Oct. 20.
“That portion is done. There’s still work being done on phase two; there’s minimal work there,” said City Engineer Jon Resler.
The third phase of reconstruction was the shortest in terms of road miles, and work was done in two phases. Pavement markings will be added this year, and surface restoration will begin in the spring.
“Pavement markings are weather dependent, temperature dependent, so we’ve got a couple of warmer days toward the end of the week,” Resler said. “They’ll get those pavement markings down, and that’ll pretty much wrap it up for the season.”
Phase two work will carry into 2019.
“There’ll be some minor things that will have to be done in the spring,” Resler said. “It may require a small duration of lane closure. It won’t be a road closure.”
The construction on University Avenue in Cedar Falls meets Waterloo’s portion of the road around Midway Avenue.
The City Council voted 6-1 in February 2015 to narrow the road from six lanes to four and replace six of its eight signalized intersections with roundabouts.
Peterson Contractors Inc. of Reinbeck is the general contractor for both the second and third phases of the work.
Cones for the project will be gone in a week, Sheetz said.
CEDAR FALLS — David Archambault II’s opposition to the Dakota Access oil pipeline is as much about centuries of betrayal by white people and the U.S. government as it is about protecting sacred Native American land.
The former chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose lands straddle North and South Dakota, gave a history lesson Wednesday on interactions between the groups and the treaties that produced during his talk “Standing with Tribes — Past, Present & Future” at the University of Northern Iowa. Attendees packed the main floor and spilled into the balcony of Lang Hall auditorium. He is one of several visiting speakers in the new Aldo Leopold Distinguished Lecture Series.
Archambault was one of the leaders advocating for indigenous peoples’ rights in 2016 as they opposed construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline just upstream from their lands. But he traced Native American concerns back much further.
From the Roman Catholic “Doctrine of Discovery” formulated for some of the first explorers in the New World to the U.S. treaties that hemmed in and then began shrinking lands of the Great Sioux Nation, he laid out the indignities suffered by indigenous people.
When his ancestors first made contact with European and American settlers, Sioux lands stretched across North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming. “We went from 60 million acres in 1851 to less than two million acres” today, said Archambault, a resident of Cannonball, N.D.
“A lot of people say ‘Why don’t you just get over it?’” he noted. “It’s hard to move on when it continues to happen and it’s still happening today.”
As the United States pushed westward, infrastructure projects disrupted Native American life, nearly wiped out the buffalo and forced tribes to relocate. Trails, railroads, highways, hydroelectric dams, and — finally — oil pipelines transformed how native people lived and often further marginalized them.
Native people, joined by hundreds of other Americans, took a stand against Dakota Access when the pipeline’s construction came near the Standing Rock tribal lands.
“You can’t plan for something like this,” said Archambault, recalling six days where he was barely able to eat or sleep. “What was happening at Standing Rock was growing, and it was getting bigger and bigger.”
He gathered with tribal elders and, in a ceremony, asked the Creator how to stop the pipeline’s construction. They got their answer, he said: “If you fight with violence you’ll lose, but if you fight this with peace and prayer you’ll win.”
So tribal leaders asked four things of those who came to protest — no alcohol, drugs, weapons or violence.
“It was probably one of the most powerful things I was part of,” he said. It was sacred.”
The fight was also a learning process for Archambault as he talked to lawmakers and other officials at all levels along with pursuing the matter in the courts.
“We came at this politically,” he said. “Legally, we went to court. We exhausted everything we could in federal court.”
In the end, the pipeline was built and a federal judge allowed oil to begin flowing through it. But Archambault noted the frequency of spills from oil pipelines that crisscross the nation and the possibility of contamination, particularly water. He still considers the Dakota Access pipeline a threat to his tribe.
“There are a lot of battles ahead and we’ve got to stay united,” he said. Those range from fighting the stalled Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would cut through the heart of the Great Sioux Nation, to seeking a revocation by Pope Francis of the Papal Bulls on the Doctrine of Discovery.
Archambault called on people to be conscious of their behavior and suggested glimmers of hope with some movement towards sustainability and decentralization across the country.
“We are all connected and whatever we do will have an impact on everything else,” he said.
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks rocketed to their biggest gain in eight months Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell hinted that the Fed might not raise interest rates much further. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 617 points.
In a speech to the Economic Club of New York, Powell said that rates are close to “neutral,” the level at which they neither hold back growth nor aid it. That might mean the Fed isn’t planning to raise interest rates far above their current levels. Powell also appeared to suggest that the Fed might pause its cycle of interest rate increases next year so the central bank can assess the effects of its actions.
That relieved investors who feel the nine-year-old bull market could come to an end if rates rise too fast. Those worries have contributed to the market’s big slump in October and November. The other major factor is the trade dispute between the U.S. and China. Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are scheduled to discuss their differences this weekend at a meeting of the Group of 20.
Wall Street has grown pessimistic that the nations will resolve their differences any time soon. Whether they make progress or not, stocks could have a strong reaction to the Trump-Xi meeting.
Stocks rose in morning trading and nearly tripled their gains as Powell spoke. Bond yields slipped and the dollar weakened as investors adjusted their expectations for how quickly interest rates might rise in the future.
After slashing interest rates to zero in 2008 during the financial crisis, the Fed has been steadily raising them since the end of 2015 and it’s expected to announce another increase in December. But higher interest rates tend to slow economic growth, and since growth in the U.S. and other regions is already likely to slow down next year, investors are concerned the increases will hinder the economy.
“He’s acknowledging that if you make an interest rate move today, you’re not really going to feel the effects of it for 12 to 18 months,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer of Cresset Wealth Advisors. “Global central bank tightening (of rates) was probably the biggest risk that equity investors faced over the next four quarters, so having the Fed chairman come out and suggest they’re almost done is welcome news.”
The S&P 500 index surged 61.62 points, or 2.3 percent, to 2,743.79, its biggest gain since March 26. The S&P 500 has gained 4.2 percent this week, but would still need to rise another 6.8 percent to return to its record high from late September.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 617.70 points, or 2.5 percent, to 25,366.43. The Nasdaq composite rose 208.89 points, or 2.9 percent, to 7,291.59. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 37.53 points, or 2.5 percent, to 1,530.38.
After an initial decline, bond prices turned higher, sending yields lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.06 percent from 3.07 percent earlier in the day. It stood at 3.05 percent late Tuesday. The yield on the 2-year note steadied at 2.81 percent.
The dollar weakened, which sent metals prices higher. The ICE US dollar index lost 0.6 percent.
Customer-management software developer Salesforce surged 10.3 percent to $140.64 after its earnings and revenue were stronger than analysts expected. That helped pull technology companies higher. Software maker Adobe rose 7.3 percent to $249.21. Apple jumped 3.8 percent to $180.94 and Microsoft rose 3.7 percent to $111.12.
Tiffany skidded 11.8 percent to $92.54 after it said foreign tourists, especially from China, didn’t spend as much at its stores in its latest quarter. That contributed to disappointing sales for the company. Chinese economic growth has slowed since the government clamped down on bank lending last year as part of an effort to rein in surging debt. The U.S.- China trade dispute has also contributed to the slowdown.
Jam and packaged food maker J.M. Smucker fell 7.2 percent to $101.28 after it reported a smaller profit and less revenue than analysts had expected. Smucker also lowered its forecasts for the full year.
Boeing recovered a sliver of its recent losses as investigators in Indonesia discussed their probe into the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8. Indonesian authorities said they are still struggling to understand why the plane crashed. Questions about the crash have pulled Boeing’s stock lower. Despite a 4.9 percent gain Wednesday, to $333.50, it’s still down 10 percent since Nov. 8, when federal regulators gave an emergency directive telling pilots how to handle incorrect data from a sensor that may have malfunctioned during the flight.
The dollar fell to 113.53 yen from 113.79 yen. The euro rose to $1.1376 from $1.1296.
Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 2.5 percent to $50.29 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, sank 2.4 percent to $58.76 a barrel in London.