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Support For Legal Weed Soars, Recreational Pot Still Lags Behind

More than three-quarters of Iowans support legalizing medical marijuana, but the tide of public opinion remains against legalizing cannabis for recreational use.

The Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll shows a surge in support for legal weed of 20 percentage points since 2013. Medical marijuana advocates will be jumping for joy over the large uptick in support, but the wider legalization movement will be dissapointed to see the majority of Iowans still oppose recreational pot.

A little over a third of Iowans believe their state should go down the road taken by states such as Washington and Colorado —  with an increase in support of five percentage points since 2013.

A majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents favor legalization of medical marijuana at 65 percent, 87 percent and 79 percent respectively.

As the law stands in Iowa, marijuana extract is legal and can be taken by those suffering with severe eilepsy. There is no legal industry for the production or distribution of marijuana extract and only 95 marijuana cards have been issued.

But if fresh legislation is passed in the Iowa House, production and distribution within the state could be legalized, and would add multiple sclerosis and terminal cancer to the list of diseases marijuana can legally be used to treat, according to The Des Moines Register.

The favorable numbers toward legalization reflect a shift in national opinion that has been on the move for more than 40 years.  A Gallup poll released in October 2015 showed close to 60 percent of the country supports legalizing marijuana.

“Americans’ support for legal marijuana has steadily grown over time. When Gallup first asked the question, in 1969, 12 percent of Americans thought marijuana use should be legal, with little change in two early 1970s polls. By the late 1970s, support had increased to about 25 percent, and held there through the mid-1990s. The percentage of Americans who favored making use of the drug legal exceeded 30 percent by 2000 and was higher than 40 percent by 2009,” said Gallup.

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