Tom Duncan, Iowa

Tom Duncan, co-founder of Iowans for Safe Access and recipient of ASA’s Courage Award in 2017, passed away on August 15, 2018, after living with cancer for years. He was 60.

Tom Duncan lobbying at the U.S. CapitolA humble, tireless advocate for access to medical cannabis for all those in need, Tom attend many of ASA’s National Medical Cannabis Unity Conferences and lobbied Senator Chuck Grassley’s office relentlessly.

Tom’s last victory as an advocate, just days before his death, was to change the University Iowa Hospital and Clinic policy to allow patients to bring in cannabis oil and medicate in their room.

"I am very sad to hear about our movement's loss of Tom Duncan," said Steph Sherer, pictured with Tom at the Unity Conference. "He was inspiration to all of us at ASA and such a lovely person." 

A resident of Jefferson, Iowa, where he was buried late last month, Tom worked as a commodities broker for several years, as well as with his father on the family farm there.

After his father died in 2008, Tom took on caring for his elderly mother, Bonnie, and his brother Jay, who has Down Syndrome. Tom also worked for a time at Genesis, an organization that provides support for people with disabilities, and was active in Aktion Club, a service club for adults with disabilities.

"If you weren’t his friend, that was by your choice, as he met everyone where they were and respected everyone," says one of his hometown friends. 

His friends remember him for his love of ice cream and his way with children. Advocates will remember how Tom worked tirelessly for safe access to medical cannabis on both the state and national levels. He was a generous man who always demurred when complimented on his advocacy, giving credit to the many mothers in Iowa for the wins they achieved.

Patients everywhere have lost a champion of compassion. He will be sorely missed.


This profile was originally published in the October 2018 ASA Activist Newsletter