A CBD store opened in Iowa City last month. Officials say it’s illegal.

Your CBD Store opened in Iowa City in January, serving natural treatments for a wide range of health conditions, expanding into some legal gray areas.


Alyson Kuennen

Your CBD Store is seen on Saturday, February 3, 2018. A nationwide company, the Iowa City location opened its doors last month.

Caleb McCullough, News Reporter

The products that line the walls of Your CBD Store, 264 Scott Court, are used by customers to treat a slew of health issues. There’s only one problem — the product they use isn’t technically legal.

The store sells products that contain cannabidiol, a product derived from cannabis that contains little or no THC, the main chemical in cannabis that causes the “high.”

The local CBD Store, which opened its doors in January, is owned and operated by Rebecca Ramker of Davenport. She operates five CBD stores across eastern Iowa and plans to open a sixth in Bettendorf in February.

Ramker began her journey in the CBD business after her daughter-in-law found that the product helped suppress her regular seizures. Ramker said her daughter-in-law would usually have a couple seizures a month, but she hasn’t had a major seizure since beginning the treatment in August 2018.

Ramker said her stores have had a lot of success since opening her first store in Davenport in October 2018.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “Right now, we’re getting a lot of repeat customers.”

Physicians, chiropractors, and pharmacists refer people to Ramker’s store, she said. Her customers use CBD to relieve a wide range of conditions, including anxiety, arthritis, and high blood sugar.

Cannabidiol products at the store come in numerous forms, including tinctures, gummies, capsules, lotions, and even pet products. The products are sourced organically from a hemp farm in Colorado.

Even with the reported success of the products, Iowa City police public-information Officer Derek Frank said the product is illegal under state law.

Hemp products containing less than 0.3 percent THC, which includes the cannabidiol products, were legalized federally under the 2018 farm bill, but state law still prohibits their sale without a cannabis-dispensary license.

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“Any cannabinoid, which is what CBD is, if it’s not distributed with the approval of the state and purchased and possessed by somebody who has a card or permit from the state, then it’s illegal to sell and/or purchase,” Frank said.

State law requires individuals to obtain a medical permit before purchasing the product, and there are only five dispensaries in the state approved to sell it.

“All of this is very new, so people are still trying to figure out what the legality is and what enforcement is going to look like,” Frank said.

Ramker said she hasn’t faced issues from law enforcement with any of her stores, and she hopes the legal status of cannabidiol will be cleared up soon.

“There are still a lot of gray areas,” she said. “I can’t wait until it’s all black and white. It just depends.”

Even with the legal confusion, one UI student finds the product helpful in reducing anxiety symptoms.

Sophomore Lanie Smith said she began using cannabidiol oil in December 2018 to treat anxiety. She takes it in addition to traditional anxiety medication.

Smith, who uses the product once or twice a week depending on how severe her anxiety is, said she was attracted to it because she wanted a natural way to treat her anxiety.

“It’s just really calming,” she said. “It’s not something that gets me high or anything.”