Earlier this week, lawmakers in Des Moines once again introduced the Medical Cannabis Act for consideration. Unfortunately, the legislation will die for the year if it is not reported out of the Senate Human Resources Committee by the end of the week. If you live in Iowa, please email the committee members today and ask them to hold a hearing on this bill.
If passed, the Medical Cannabis Act will protect Iowans with serious and debilitating medical conditions from arrest or prosecution for using medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. The legislation also requires the department of public health to develop rules governing the distribution of medical marijuana to qualified patients. Twenty states and Washington, D.C. have compassionate laws on the books; it’s about time Iowa does the same.
It’s time both Republicans and Democrats in Iowa stand up for those less fortunate and allow trained medical professionals to recommend medical marijuana when they think its use is appropriate.
A new poll by Quinnipiac University reveals that 82% of Florida voters support medical marijuana. Florida advocates are currently pushing for legislation that would allow seriously ill residents to use marijuana with a recommendation from their doctors.
Support for the proposed constitutional amendment is high among voters of every political stripe, age and income level, with independents lending the most support: 88 percent, the poll shows.
The overall 82-16 percent support for medical marijuana is the biggest to date. The previous high-point for Florida approval was about 70 percent in a poll taken earlier this year by the medical marijuana advocacy group, People United for Medical Marijuana.
Nearly half of Florida voters favor [legalization] — 48 percent — while 46 percent oppose pot legalization for personal use. That’s within the margin of error, but it’s a leading indicator of a shift in public opinion. Support for legalization is again strongest among independents (57-37 percent), and then Democrats (55-39 percent).
But Republicans are opposed 30-64 percent. Contrast that with GOP voter support for medical marijuana is solid: 70-26 percent.
Medical marijuana is a contentious subject in Florida, where seniors and patients have been working diligently to educate voters and gather support. The political establishment has noticed, and the placement of medical marijuana on the November 2014 ballot could influence the gubernatorial race.
Del. Heather Mizeur
This week, Maryland gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur (D) released a plan to regulate marijuana like alcohol. “Marijuana is safer than alcohol and tobacco,” she told the Baltimore Sun. “It has been a failed policy for us as a nation to criminalize the use of this substance.”
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) — who is leading in the polls — has not said he supports legalization. However, he appears to understand that law enforcement should focus on more violent crimes and he “welcomes a continued discussion and analysis” of decriminalizing negligible amounts of marijuana.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Doug Gansler (D)’s spokesman said, “There does not appear to be a groundswell toward full-scale legalization here in Maryland nor does the attorney general feel that unrestrained legalization would be appropriate.”
On the Republican side, current Harford County executive David Craig opposes legalizing marijuana. Del. Ron George of Anne Arundel County was also opposed, though he appeared more open to reform. “I just don’t think you’d be able to control it, so I’m not for the version that [Mizeur] has spoken of,” George said, noting he isn’t necessarily opposed to the concept of allowing adults to use marijuana.
A third Republican candidate, Charles County business executive Charles Lollar, said he is undecided.
On Tuesday, NBC and Esquire announced the results of a poll conducted by both Public Opinion Strategies and Benenson Strategy Group. The poll asked American voters a series of questions about social, economic, and political issues, and the results indicate a “new American center.” According to the poll, 51% of Americans fall into the new center: 28% of them are Republican, 36% are Democrat, and 36% Independent. The American center is also in favor of marijuana policy reform, with 52% supporting the legalization of marijuana and 34% strongly supporting the movement. You can see a breakdown of the various views of the American center here or view the full results of the poll here.
According to Talking Points Memo, Sen. John McCain made some comments Thursday that some may find surprising:
McCain’s comments could not have been better timed. Next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Justice Department’s new policy allowing states to move forward with taxing and regulating marijuana. Arizona’s other senator, Jeff Flake, is a member of that committee. Sen. Flake will have the opportunity to question Justice Department officials and help shape the future of federal policy on marijuana.