A new poll shows that the Hawkeye State is ready to embrace legalization.
The poll from the Des Moines Register and Mediacom found that 53 percent of Iowans support legalizing marijuana for recreational use. According to the Des Moines Register, it marks the first time that the survey, conducted by the pollster Selzer & Co, shows a majority in favor of legalization for recreational use. Selzer & Co. has testing the question since February 2013.
Forty-one percent said they were opposed to legalization, while another six percent said they weren’t sure. The findings represent a dramatic turnaround in attitudes in just the last seven years. When the question was first posed in 2013, nearly 70 percent of Iowans said they were opposed to legalization for recreational use. But there has been a sea change in public opinion and policy across the country since then, with a number of states and cities legalizing pot for adults.
But even as recently as 2018, the Des Moines Register poll showed that nearly 60 percent of Iowans were still opposed. By 2019, opinion was basically evenly split on the question.
“According to the poll, there is an age divide in whether Iowans believe marijuana should be legalized,” the Des Moines Register reported. “Seventy-five percent of people younger than 35 support legalizing recreational marijuana, and 56% of people aged 35 to 54 support legalizing it. For people 55 and older, support of legalized recreational marijuana drops to 34%. Men and women support legalization at about the same clip, 54% and 53%, respectively.”
The poll also found that a whopping majority—81 percent—“support expanding the state’s medical-marijuana program to include more diseases and conditions,” according to the Des Moines Register.
That question was timely, as the Iowa House of Representatives on Tuesday passed legislation that would both allow patients to possess more medical cannabis and significantly expand the list of qualifying conditions for a prescription. Kim Reynolds, Iowa’s Republican governor, vetoed a bill in last year’s session that would have expanded the state’s medical marijuana program.