Strong Support For Medical Cannabis In Iowa

Iowa Cannabis Poll
Image : Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll

Eighty percent of Iowa residents recently surveyed indicated their support for legalising cannabis for medicinal purposes, a large jump from a 2013 poll that showed 58% support it.

The Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll reports 88 percent of young adults and 67 percent of senior citizens support medical marijuana. With regard to political leanings, 66 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of political independents back the concept.

The poll results indicate support in city areas to be stronger than in rural Iowa, and those with no religious affiliations more likely to support it than Catholics or Protestants.

The survey results come at a very important time. While there is a medical marijuana program in Iowa, it is incredibly limited – less than 200 Iowans reportedly hold the necessary card to access a very limited range of medications.

A bill (SF 2360) was passed in 2014 enabling patients afflicted by epilepsy to legally possess anti-seizure medicine derived from cannabis; based on the non-intoxicating cannabinoid cannabidiol. 

The “CBD cannabis oil” used must contain no more than 3 percent (%) of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and epilepsy patients need to have secured a written recommendation from their neurologist. Additionally, patients may only possess up to 32 ounces of cannabidiol oil. Primary caregivers may possess no more than 32 ounces of  cannabidiol oil for each patient.

To make things even more difficult, each Medical Cannabidiol Act Registration Card is only valid for 12 months from the date of issuance and must be renewed annually. Furthermore, CBD cannot be sourced within Iowa.

But even this very narrow and complex program is threatened – the 2014 legislation will expire on July 1 this year; so the push is on not only extend Iowa’s program, but to expand it significantly.

At least three bills have been filed this year on the issue of Iowa’s Medical Cannabis Act, SF 205, HF 199 and HF 198 – and more are expected. One Senator, Brad Zaun, said he wants to add about a dozen qualifying conditions to the program and also to introduce laws that will enable production facilities in Iowa to manufacture cannabis medicines.