ProCon.org contacted the 2008 Presidential candidates to ask their positions on the question, "Should the federal government stop raids against people for using medical marijuana in states where medical marijuana use is legal?" If no response was received, ProCon.org conducted research to find quotes from the candidates on the issue. If you have heard a better or more recent statement from one of the candidates on the topic of medical marijuana, please let us know.
Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. (Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by party; black & white photos indicate candidate is no longer running)
Should the federal government stop raids against people for using medical marijuana in states where medical marijuana use is legal?
Candidates are listed in alphabetical order. Positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. (Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria are listed last.)
John McCain, U.S. Senator (R-AZ), stated on a YouTube.com video of a Sep. 29,2007 house party at the home of Maureen & Cal Barrows in Exeter, NH:
Q: "Would you arrest and possibly jail the sick and dying patients in the twelve states who have passed legislation protecting these patients with their doctors' approval?"
John McCain: "Now that's a very good twist on the old question trying to embarrass me on this issue. Thank you very much. And the answer, of course, is no. But the fact is I do not approve of the use of medical marijuana. I never have, and I never will." Sep. 29, 2007 John McCain
Ralph Nader, Attorney, Author, and Political Activist, stated in an Oct. 8, 2004 interview with the Drug War Chronicle:
"The criminal prosecution of patients for medical marijuana must end immediately, and marijuana must be treated as a medicine for the seriously ill. The current cruel, unjust policy perpetuated and enforced by the Bush Administration prevents Americans who suffer from debilitating illnesses from experiencing the relief of medicinal cannabis." Oct. 8, 2004 Ralph Nader
Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senator (D-NY), stated in a conversation with Clayton Holton from Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana on Nov. 1, 2007 on a YouTube.com video titled "Sen. Hillary Clinton Meets a Medical Marijuana Patient":
"Clayton Holton: ...I was curious if you will stop federal raids against medical marijuana users like myself.
Hillary Clinton: You know, I think we have to do more research into that and try to figure out how we can create the option for people who really get relief from it to get some help. We'll look at that." Nov. 1, 2007 Hillary Clinton
John Edwards, former U.S. Senator (D-NC), stated in a conversation with Clayton Holton from the Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana in a Sep. 8, 2007 YouTube.com video titled "Senator John Edwards on Medical Marijuana":
"...[T]hese raids that are being done against [medical marijuana] patients, I will not do as President of the United States and would put a stop to. What I've also said is, I really think that we need to put the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] in charge of this instead of having -- right now it's just a political football. I think if we give the FDA the responsibility and have them determine how to treat this -- if somebody like you who needs medical marijuana to ease your pain and there's not other medications that can accomplish it, then the FDA can say that. But what we have right now is a situation where it's a huge political football, it's used for political rhetoric, and the result is a lot of people are being punished as a result. And so that's what I would do, I would put it under the responsibility of the FDA and I would stop these raids. That's what I would do." Sep. 8, 2007 John Edwards
Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, stated in a Oct. 3, 2007 town hall meeting in Windham, NH on YouTube.com:
"I've never said that I'm going to raid anybody. The question I was asked was, would I be in favor of legalizing marijuana for the purpose of medical treatment. I've checked with the FDA [Food and Drug Administration], and the FDA are experts on this, not me, and the FDA takes the position that we shouldn't do that... And the reality is the FDA says that there are more than enough alternatives to marijuana, that it would be not advisable to make marijuana legal, and if the FDA took a different position, maybe I would then rethink it." Oct. 3, 2007 Rudy Giuliani
Mike Gravel, former U.S. Senator (D-AK), stated in a Q&A on a YouTube.com video titled "Mike Gravel on Federal Raids for Medical Marijuana" dated Sep. 26, 2007:
Q: "This afternoon the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] began extensive raids on medical marijuana facilities in California. Would you put an end to these raids?"
Mike Gravel: "Totally...I would deregulate. I mean, there's nothing wrong with marijuana. It's not nearly as addictive as alcohol, and plus it has some health properties to it. So we deregulate marijuana, let you go buy it in a package store." Sep. 26, 2007 Mike Gravel
Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, stated in a speech at a private house party in Francestown, NH on a June 4, 2007 YouTube.com video:
"Well, you know I'm going to leave it up to the DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency] whether they feel like there is a person who is being arrested because they are suffering from AIDS or because they really are doing something to significantly violate drug laws. But it comes down to laws are laws for a reason and if we don't change the laws, we don't have a right to break the ones we don't like." June 4, 2007 Mike Huckabee
Dennis Kucinich, U.S. Representative (D-OH), stated at the Aug. 9, 2007 Democratic forum on Viacom's Logo cable network:
"Well, four years go when there were raids in California, I as a member of the Congress objected to that. And, of course, it's a matter between doctors and patients, and if doctors want to prescribe medical marijuana to relieve pain, compassion requires that the government support that. And so as president of the United States, I would make sure that our Justice Department was mindful that we should be taking a compassionate approach.
I want to go one step further, because this whole issue of drugs in our society is misplaced. Drugs have infected the society, but I think we need to look at it more as a medical and a health issue than as a criminal justice issue." Aug. 9, 2007 Dennis Kucinich
Frank McEnulty, an Independent candidate and President of Our Castle Homes, in a Jan. 24, 2008 email to ProCon.org, stated:
"Yes, it [is] absolutely ridiculous that the Federal Government is involved in meddling in the lives of people with fatal and often very painful diseases who are only following the advice of their doctors and the rules of the states in which they live. That is why there is supposed to be a separation of powers between the state and Federal governments and a prime example of why the Federal government needs to be reined in." Jan. 24, 2008 Frank McEnulty
Ron Paul, U.S. Representative (R-TX), speaking at a campaign event on Aug. 19, 2007 in Londonderry, NH, stated:
"I'd stop them [federal arrests and raids]. I wouldn't do them, because it's unconstitutional. Why should I go and send someone out to California to overrule a state law when we have no jurisdiction? Besides, it's a waste of a lot of money and energy. No, there should be no federal preemption on laws like that." Aug. 19, 2007 Ron Paul
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated in an Oct. 25, 2007 speech at a town hall event in Exeter, NH:
"I don't do any arresting. In my view, marijuana should not be made legal either for medicinal purposes or recreational purposes. It's the opening way to drug use for many, many people in our country and I'm opposed to medical marijuana." Oct. 25, 2007 Mitt Romney