A national poll conducted by the University of Iowa shows overwhelming support to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, but broad opposition to recreational use.
The poll, released December 7, showed 65 percent of adults — almost two-thirds — favor legalizing medicinal cannabis, while just 30 percent favored legalization for recreational purposes, reports Cindy Hadish at KCRG-TV.
“Medical marijuana is becoming a less controversial issue for Americans,” said Amanda Keller, UI graduate assistant for the Hawkeye Poll Cooperative and for the independent study class that conducted the poll. “We see quite a bit of support.”
States that have passed medical marijuana legislation and states that have not were both included in the 40 states polled, according to Keller. Fifteen states plus the District of Columbia have passed measures to allow medicinal cannabis.
The Iowa Board of Pharmacy voted 6-0 last month to send a bill to Iowa lawmakers reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule II drug, which could then be prescribed by doctors.
As a current Schedule I drug, marijuana is not legally allowed for any purpose in Iowa.
Unfortunately, Republicans who will have a majority in the Iowa House next session and Governor-elect Terry Branstad, also a Republican, have said they are not interested in taking up the issue, despite a large majority of Iowans favoring it.
Keller said that while politicians think medical marijuana is a controversial issue, the poll shows otherwise.
Broad support was found among various political affiliations for legalizing medical marijuana, with 69 percent of Democrats, 57 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of independents favoring medicinal cannabis.
Support for medical marijuana also reached across age groups.
Fifty-five percent of adults 18 to 34; 69 percent of those 35 to 54; 71 percent of those 55 to 69; and 63 percent of those 70 and older favored legalization of marijuana for medical use.
Older adults might understand the need for medical marijuana as a person ages, according to Keller.
Recreational, as contrasted to medical marijuana use received its highest levels of support from adults age 35 to 54, with 38 percent favoring. Just 29 percent of adults 18 to 34 supported full legalization for recreational use, while 28 percent of those 55 to 69, and 13 percent of those 70 and older favored general legalization.
Fifty-seven percent of liberals favored overall legalization, while just nine percent of conservatives did so. Thirty-eight percent of moderates felt marijuana should be legalized for recreational use.
Legalization of either medical or recreational use should be left to states, according to most respondents, rather than federal or local government.
Fifty-four percent of respondents said marijuana legalization should be left to the states, while just 33 percent said it should be left to the federal government.
The Hawkeye Poll Cooperative includes University of Iowa faculty, graduate students in political science and 10 undergraduate students enrolled in an independent study class through the Department of Political Science.
Margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 2.5 percent. The poll was conducted November 3-11, 2010.