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Iowa Democrats Support Legalizing Marijuana in New Poll

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Democratic presidential candidates would do well to endorse legalizing marijuana, according to the results of a new survey.

Sixty-one percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa agree with ending the prohibition on cannabis, a new poll by the Des Moines Register found.

“I’m going to mention some stands on issues some candidates have taken,” the surveyors told respondents. “For each, please tell me if you agree or disagree with this position.”

After hearing, “Wants to legalize marijuana,” 30 percent of the Democrats in the poll disagreed and nine percent said they were not sure.

Among the presidential candidates, only U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has said he supports legalization.

The other two candidates in the race are former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady Hillary Clinton and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley. They have both said that marijuana should be reclassified under federal law and downgraded from Schedule I, a category that’s supposed to be reserved for substances with no medical value, to Schedule II. Sanders has introduced Senate legislation to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act altogether.

As governor, O’Malley signed into law bills decriminalizing marijuana and legalizing medical marijuana.

Clinton, during her run for president in 2007, said, “I don’t think we should decriminalize” marijuana. But in the first Democratic presidential debate of the current cycle, she said, “I agree completely with the idea that we have got to stop imprisoning people who use marijuana,” adding that, “I do support the use of medical marijuana.”

All three Democratic candidates say that states should be able to enact their own marijuana laws without federal interference, a position that is also shared by most of the Republican presidential candidates.

The Iowa Caucuses, the first contest of the 2016 presidential campaign, will be held on February 1.

The Des Moines Register poll was conducted December 7-10 and included 404 Democratic likely Caucus-goers. The margin of error was ± 4.9 percentage points.

Previous polling has shown support for marijuana law reform in the state.

A survey by Quinnipiac University from earlier this year found overall views on legalization split in Iowa at 47 percent for to 47 percent against, but showed Democrats overwhelmingly in favor by a margin of 62 percent to 32 percent. Support for medical marijuana was strong across the board, with 87 percent in the state in favor compared to just 11 percent against. Eight-two percent of Republicans, 95 percent of Democrats and 84 percent of independents backed medical cannabis in the poll.

In national polling, Democrats are also generally shown to be in strong support of marijuana reforms, which has no doubt influenced the party’s candidates to stake out increasingly far-reaching positions in support of changes to federal laws.

To find out what all of the candidates in both parties have said and done about cannabis laws, read Marijuana.com’s comprehensive overview.

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