By Jason Hancock | Published in The Iowa Independent
A large majority of Iowans favor legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, according to the results of the latest Hawkeye Poll conducted by the University of Iowa.
Sixty-five percent of those sampled said they favored legalizing medical marijuana for medical purposes, and the support appears to be widespread. A majority of Democrats (69 percent), Republicans (57 percent) and Independents (77 percent) favor medical marijuana. A majority of people in each age group also supports this, with support increasing in the older age groups.
“This increase in support may reflect a perception of greater need for medical marijuana as a person ages,” said Thomas Arce, a UI undergraduate student involved with the poll.
Last month, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy voted unanimously to draft legislation that would change the designation of marijuana from a Schedule 1 to a Schedule 2 drug. That change would mean the state officially recognizes the drug has some medical qualities.
A state Senate subcommittee held a hearing last year on a bill sponsored by state Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City) that would have created the Medical Marijuana Act, allowing the possession and use of marijuana for therapeutic purposes. The bill, Senate File 293, never made it out of subcommittee.
While support for legalizing marijuana for medical purposes is quite high, support for legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes is low. Only 30 percent of respondents were in favor of legalized recreational marijuana.