Presidential Candidates' Stance on MJ

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Buzz, Aug 8, 2003.

  1. * Presidential Candidates Voice Opinions On The Medical Use Of Marijuana

    Presidential Candidates Voice Opinions On The Medical Use Of Marijuana
    "It's promising to see many of the candidates distinguishing themselves
    from the Bush administration by taking positions in support of the medical
    use of marijuana," NORML Executive Director Says
    Washington, DC: Among the nine announced Democratic candidates for
    President, more than half have expressed various degrees of support for
    the medical use of marijuana. Their positions stand in sharp contrast to
    that of the Bush administration, which has overseen approximately 40 raids
    of state-authorized medicinal marijuana patients and providers, and is
    appealing a unanimous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding
    the rights of physicians to discuss marijuana therapy with their patients.
    "It's promising to see many of the Presidential candidates
    distinguishing themselves from the Bush administration by taking positions
    in support of the medical use of marijuana - a position shared by 80
    percent of the American public," NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup
    said. "We can only hope that they will back-up their rhetoric with real
    political action to protect patients from arrest."
    Of the candidates, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich has been the most
    outspoken in support of the legalization of medical marijuana.
    Kucinich told the San Francisco Chronicle in May that pot should be
    available "to any patient who needs it to alleviate pain and suffering,"
    and promised, if elected, to "sign an executive order [to] permit its
    use." Most recently, Kucinich lobbied on the House floor in favor of an
    amendment to bar the Justice Department from using federal funds to
    prosecute state-authorized medical marijuana patients. "States deserve to
    have the right to make their own decisions regarding the use of medical
    marijuana," he said. "The federal government should use its power to help
    terminally ill citizens, not arrest them."
    Kucinich's new found support for medical marijuana is a dramatic shift
    in the Congressman's position. In 1988, Kucinich voted in favor of a
    House resolution defining marijuana as "a dangerous and addictive drug
    [that] should not be legalized for medicinal use." Kucinich is currently
    a co-sponsor of a pair of federal bills seeking to liberalize federal law
    regarding the use of medical marijuana by qualified patients.
    Candidate John Kerry (D-Mass) has also expressed support for medical
    marijuana law reform, stating at a New Hampshire town meeting in July that
    he is "in favor" of its use under a doctor's supervision. Kerry also told
    California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer at a recent San Francisco
    fundraiser that he would establish an interagency commission to revise the
    federal government's ban on medical marijuana. This week Kerry repeated
    that he remains "open to the question of medical marijuana," but tempered
    his support by adding that he would like to review studies comparing
    marijuana to other medications before deciding whether to back its
    Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) has been less forthright in his position,
    though in July he told a representative from New Hampshire's Granite
    Staters for Medical Marijuana that he would "probably" sign legislation as
    President allowing seriously ill patients to use the drug medicinally. In
    addition, Lieberman now claims that he is "sympathetic" to the issue,
    despite having co-sponsored in 1998 a Senate resolution opposing any use
    of marijuana as a medicine.
    Similarly, Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-MO) also appears to have shifted his
    position since 1998, when he backed a House resolution opposing medical
    pot. In July, Gephardt told Granite Staters' patient representative Linda
    Macia that he supported state laws legalizing the use of marijuana under a
    doctor's supervision, and that he would sign federal legislation allowing
    pot's use under limited circumstances. Unlike Kucinich however, Kerry,
    Gephardt and Lieberman have yet to endorse Congressional legislation
    amending the federal government's ban on medical marijuana.
    Among the remaining candidates, both former Vermont governor Howard
    Dean and US Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) have said publicly that they oppose
    arresting and jailing patients for using medicinal marijuana, but neither
    one has endorsed the drug's legalization.
    Speaking on CNN earlier this week, Dean said that he didn't think the
    Feds should "throw [patients] in jail in California" for using marijuana,
    but added that he opposed legalizing pot through the state initiative
    process. "I think that marijuana should be treated like every other drug
    ... and there shouldn't be a special process which is based on politics to
    legalize it," he told a caller on Larry King Live. While Governor, Dean
    actively opposed a proposed state law to remove criminal penalties on the
    possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes.
    Speaking at a New Hampshire town hall meeting in July, Edwards said
    that he would appoint a "non-partisan commission" to study marijuana's
    therapeutic value, but stopped short of endorsing the drug's use. Edwards
    also criticized the Bush administration's decision to target and prosecute
    state-authorized medical marijuana patients, but offered little in the way
    of alternatives, noting, "The government has a responsibility to enforce
    the law."
    Lastly, Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) has said that he opposes the use of
    medical marijuana, but pledged that as President he would "defer to the
    states" on the issue. Candidates C. Mosely Braun and Al Sharpton have yet
    to make any public statements regarding the subject.
    For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul
    Armentano at (202) 483-5500. To download and send NORML's marijuana
    policy questionnaire to the 2004 Presidential candidates, please visit:

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