Poll: 81 percent of Iowans support medical marijuana

-- photo by Raquel Baranow
A new poll shows Iowans love pot, but only for the sick. — photo by Raquel Baranow

A poll released yesterday by Quinnipiac University shows that Iowans overwhelmingly support medical marijuana, despite holding unfavorable views toward its legalization for recreational use.

When asked whether they “support or oppose allowing adults in Iowa to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it,” 81 percent of Iowans say they support this idea while 17 percent say they are opposed. Across all groups, Democrats were the most supportive at 89 percent. A majority of Republicans, 68 percent, also came out in support.

When the topic turns toward recreational use, Iowan’s are less receptive. 41 percent of Iowans support the legal possession of “small amounts of marijuana for personal use,” with 55 percent opposed. Democrats and those age 18-29 were the only groups to show majority support for “personal use” legalization (54 and 62 percent, respectively). Republicans were the least supportive at 21 percent.

“Opposition to personal marijuana is higher in Iowa than in any state we’ve surveyed so far on this subject,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Support for medical marijuana is comparable to other states.”

On the topic of safety, 49 percent of Iowans say that marijuana is “equally” as dangerous as alcohol, though 63 percent say they have never actually tried the drug. 64 percent of Iowans say they would be “very uncomfortable” getting into a car with a driver who has “smoked or consumed moderate amounts of marijuana.”

Interestingly enough, 54 percent of Iowans say that the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado has been bad for the state’s “national image.” However, in the event that marijuana were legalized for recreational use in Iowa, a majority of Iowans (57 percent) say it would not bother them if their neighbor were “growing marijuana in their home.”

To complete the poll, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,411 voters between March 5-10 with a margin of error of 2.6 percent. Interviews were conducted over land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll is directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D, a former election analyst for 60 Minutes and survey associate for CBS News. View the full survey here.

By the numbers: Medical vs. Recreational



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