A new Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll finds that more than three-quarters of Iowans are in favor of the medicinal use of marijuana. But most people are still opposed to the sale of the drug for recreational use.

The new poll shows that 78% of Iowans are in favor of using marijuana for medical reasons. That's up from 58% in 2013. Only 34% of adults want in legalized for other uses, a number that hasn't moved much the past 3 years.

Iowa's current laws for medicinal marijuana only allows possession of a marijuana extract for people who suffer from extreme epilepsy. It does NOT provide legal ways to produce or distribute the medication. A bill currently in the Iowa House could soon change that. The bill would allow some production and distribution to begin, and also adds diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis as ailments that the drug could be prescribed to treat.

I can understand why legalizing marijuana for recreational use isn't going to happen anytime soon in Iowa. But this state is behind the times when it comes to using the drug as a medicine. Countless people with sick family members, many of which are children, are waiting for the day when the stigma of medicinal marijuana is gone, and they have easier access to much-needed treatments for their loved ones. My family has an acquaintance whose son has a severe form of epilepsy. The trouble they've had trying to get medicine that has been proven to help their son is well documented. This isn't about creating a new generation of addicts. It should be about helping people who are suffering. Pass the bill.

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