POTUS Candidates on Pot

Reefer on the presidential campaign trail

With the next presidential election more than a year away (that’s right, we have endless campaigning and politicking yet to come…for cryin’ out loud), the Marijuana Policy Project reports that 10 of the 18 declared POTUS contenders have come out in favor of ending federal raids on medi-pot patients in the 12 states that have legalized medical Cannabis.

By the end of June, Democratic contenders Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson had already pledged to end Drug Enforcement Administration-led medi-pot raids in states where use is legal. Although New York Sen. Hillary Clinton initially told MPP she was studying the issue, the New Hampshire group Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana now reports that during a campaign stop there on July 13, Clinton called the DEA raids “terrible” and pledged to stop them. Notably absent from the mix is Illinois Sen. Barack Obama who hasn’t yet made any commitment to ending the raids. Instead, Obama has said only that raiding sick people shouldn’t be a priority for the Dept. of Justice.

Among Republicans, Texas Rep. Ron Paul (Surfside) and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson have also pledged to end DEA raids in medi-pot states, reports MPP. Although Arizona Sen. John McCain initially said he would support letting individual states “decide that issue,” Granite Staters now report that McCain has backtracked, retreating to a politically safe (at least for now) cocoon of reefer madness. “I don’t think marijuana is healthy,” he told GSMM campaign manager Stuart Cooper last week. “I don’t think that it is good for people, and there is a large body of medical opinion that says there is plenty of other medications that are more effective and better and less damaging to one’s health to use to relieve pain.” Which medications and medical opinions McCain is talking about isn’t at all clear – in fact, Reefer Madness isn’t aware of any such body of research or of any pharmaceutical manna. (But hey, if anyone out there has any idea what McCain is talking about, please let me know!) According to GSMM, McCain said he’d continue looking into the issue on behalf of the “many…young people who feel very strongly” about the use of medi-pot, but said that for now he would not pledge to end any DEA action.

One-note-wonder Republican candidate Rudy Guiliani echoed McCain’s stance at a campaign stop in New Hampshire on July 10, according to the Associated Press. In fact, he said, medi-pot advocacy is nothing more than a backdoor attempt to legalize marijuana for everyone. (Hmmm…where have I heard that one before…perhaps from the DEA?) “There’s no reason” to legalize medi-pot, he said. “You can accomplish everything you want to accomplish with things other than marijuana, probably better,” he continued. (Try telling that to someone like Angel Raich, whose complicated medical situation makes it nearly impossible to find a pharmaceutical combination that doesn’t actually make her sicker.) “We’d be much better off telling people the truth” – drum roll please – “marijuana adds nothing to the array of legal medications,” he said. What we’ve learned: Guiliani is a company man and is likely to remain a lock-step thinker until the bitter end.

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