Pubdate: Fri, 06 Jul 2007
Source: Ledger, The (Lakeland, FL)
Copyright: 2007 The Ledger
Author: Aaron Shaw


At least 10 of the 18 Democratic and Republican presidential
candidates are now on the record in favor of ending the Drug
Enforcement Administration's raids on medical marijuana and/or the
federal government's prohibition on medical marijuana. Thanks to the
Marijuana Policy Project's work, seven candidates have publicly
pledged to end the DEA's raids in states where medical marijuana is
legal: Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., former Sen.
John Edwards, D-N.C., Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, Rep. Ron Paul,
R-Texas, Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., and former Gov. Tommy Thompson,

In addition, Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., has voted in favor of
medical-marijuana legislation on the House floor four out of four
times, former Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Alaska, said on C-SPAN: "That one is
real simple. I would legalize marijuana," and Sen. John McCain,
R-Ariz., said, "I will let states decide that issue." That's right:
Even Sen. McCain, when given the opportunity to comment on medical
marijuana publicly, said something positive, not negative.

One particular success story involves Sen. Edwards. In 2003, we
trailed him around the state, relentlessly questioning him about
medical-marijuana access. At the time, Sen. Edwards insisted it would
be "irresponsible" to end the DEA's raids on sick and dying people.
Now, four years later, his position has changed from vowing to
continue the raids to vowing to end them.

A majority of the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates
are supportive of medical-marijuana access. And this doesn't even
count the support that other candidates, including every Libertarian
Party candidate, as well as potential candidate Ralph Nader have
expressed for ending marijuana prohibition entirely.

Of the two Democratic candidates I haven't yet mentioned, Sen. Hillary
Clinton, D-N.Y., is studying the issue, and we haven't yet spoken with
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., this year, although he told me in the fall
of 2004 that he supports medical marijuana.

Of the six remaining Republican candidates, they're all bad so far,
but we'll keep working on them: Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., former
Gov. Jim Gilmore, R-Va., former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani, R,
former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and
former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass.


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