October 8th, 2007
02:23 PM ET
12 years ago

Romney confronted with medical marijuana issue

Watch Romney tackle the medical marijuana issue with a voter in New Hampshire.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was confronted head-on Saturday over the issue of medical marijuana.

Following a campaign appearance in Dover, New Hampshire, a member of the audience, Clayton Holton, told Romney he has muscular dystrophy and said five of his doctors say he is "living proof medical marijuana works."

"I am completely against legalizing it for everyone, but there is medical purposes for it," Holton told Romney.

Romney pointed out that there is synthetic marijuana as well as other pain medications available.

"It makes me sick. I have tried it, and it makes me throw up," Holton said. "My question for you is will you arrest me or my doctors if I get medical marijuana."

"I am not in favor of medical marijuana being legal in the country," Romney said as he moved on to greet other people.

Holton continued, "Excuse me, will you please answer my question?"

"I think I have. I am not in favor of legalizing medical marijuana," the Massachusetts Republican said.

Other Republican presidential hopefuls have also recently been confronted by patients on the issue.

The New York Times reported a patient in New Hampshire accused former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani of saying he would have “federal agents arrest the sick and the dying.”

"I never said that," Giuliani said.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported late last month Arizona Sen. John McCain told a patient, "Every town hall meeting I have, someone shows up and advocates for medical marijuana, and, by the way, in all due respect, alleges that we are arresting the dead and the dying, and I still have not seen any evidence of that."

Click here to CNN's new political portal: CNNPolitics.com

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. Ryan, Oakland, CA

    Hello! Most all the republican candidates are against medical Marijuana. Why is it that when Romney does it its because of his Mormon faith? I'm a Mormon and I support legalizing Marijuana. Sure Mormons aren't supposed to use drugs but that doesn't mean we all think we should impose those beliefs on others.

    And 75% percent of the things stated about Mormons on this board are incredibly ignorant! I'm getting tired of it. The Mormon church does NOT own stock in Coca Cola, Mormons are NOT forbidden from drinking caffeine, and we don't shun modern medicine IN ANY WAY.

    October 9, 2007 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  2. Dan Naperville, IL

    People claim it has no medicinal value, but they synthesized it. It was going to be used by Ford to power their cars, but they went to petrol instead under pressure of big oil. It was used as paper for the Constitution and as fabric for our first flag. It was used by Jesus within the oil used to heal the sick, yet for the past 70 years, it's been illegal. It's time to wake up and see that drugs do more harm to society by being illegal. Its a public health issue, not a criminal one. The people in power benefit from all of those felony drug arrests who are no longer able to vote, and living in prison. They are still counted as residents of voting districts that the prison occupies, adding to the electoral votes for the district. These politicians claim to care about us, but they stopped funding needle exchange programs that could have prevented countless new HIV infections. They claim to own some fictional higher, Christian moral ground, yet they fail to utter a single phrase about understanding and tolerance for which their socialist savior was eventually executed for. Leadership requires action, because people can follow. They spew rhetoric with the virulence of fascists. Jesus led by example, and didn't require his disciples to do anything that he himself, was not willing to do. Let's stop the blind from leading the blind for once.

    To "Me" from Fullerton, CA who condemn those who wish to see God's creation come out from beneath the boots of our government, "why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye, and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?." (Matthew 7:3)
    "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; that which cometh out of the mouth defileth a man." (Matthew 15:11)
    Do some research and stop being force-fed your ideologies. The biggest threat to the powers at be are an informed populace. Pose a threat.

    October 9, 2007 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  3. Dr. RaTsTaR, Lebanon Oregon

    My mother died for four years, 1979 to 1984, from chemotherapy and cancer, cancer brought on by legal drugs like nicotine and alcohol, and fueled by AMA hormones. She wasted away during this time,until she looked like a walking skeleton. She hated that dope but when nothing else could help (patients with overwhelming nausea cannot keep oral meds down, even if they could help; smoking is the only way) she finally tried some MJ. It greatly improved the little time she had left in this world.
    I have been smoking MJ for over 40 years. It doesn't matter if it is medical or not. It deserves to be made legal of its own accord. It is time.
    Marinol (synthetic THC) only contains the psycho-active ingredient in MJ, and does not include any of the rich variety of other substances that the native plant has. Cannibidiol is the pain reliever, not THC. In effect, the pharmasuits have created a more perfect monster. People that have used Marinol report that it gets them high without any of the beneficial effects. (Heroin was created to get wounded soldiers off of morphine.)
    Please support NORML. Their website is norml.org. They have been leading the fight for legalization for many decades now. Educate yourself and your friends. Stop the hypocrisy.
    It is estimated that we waste over 40 billion dollars a year on pot-hibition.
    The medical point is moot. There is nothing wrong with enjoying MJ as a social drug. It is far better for the individual, the family and society. I have seen harm reduction come to people's lives when they switched to the noble weed and quit alcohol. I dislike alcohol enormously, yet I tolerate/respect other's rights to use this evil drug. I expect tolerance for my pursuit of the activities that make my life pleasant. Viet Nam Era Veteran, 1972-1976, drafted.

    October 9, 2007 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  4. Rev. John , Albany, Ny

    So in other words no one cares about the sick and the dying. I mean you wont arrest them but you dont give a whoot about them either. I think if you can get codine and morphine from a perscription then why not a natural plant that has been used by many from when the indians ran the country. heres a thought give the country back to the native americans and let them run it. It would be a better place i am sure.

    October 9, 2007 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  5. Sandra, Tucson AZ

    Google RON PAUL. A physician who knows the truth about medical marijuana, and will see to it that the suffering are not persecuted. Ron Paul 2008, Hope for America

    October 9, 2007 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. Todd, Kenosha, WI

    I cant say that I agree with Mitt on this subject, but at least he did not side step the issue. He answered directly. I would like to hear the other candidates stances on this subject, and see how many of them skirt the issue.

    Maybe if they legalized it then put taxes on it, we could fund programs like SCHIP.

    I wonder if Hillary will say she didnt inhale when she was smoking it with Bill?
    Posted By Larry : October 8, 2007 11:40 am

    He did not sidestep the issue??? What were you watching. The kid asked him if he would support arresting him and his doctor. I don't recall Romney answering that question at all.

    October 9, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. Todd, Kenosha, WI

    All of you who agree with medical marijuana must be drug mafias. You are really evil, you use sick patients to get marijuana legalized. May all of you who want marijuana to be legalized be put in hell by God's own hands. Do you really think that you can confront God? Once you'll his hands, you'll realize that there is really God, but it'll be too late, dear.

    For those the patients who want to get cured, there are many other ways rather than using marijuana. First of course you must repent (remember you almost die and will face the Creator soon, so you'd better repent when there is still enough time). Second, consult with second, third of fourth doctor to get other opinions for your illness. There must be another way, remember that. May God bless you.
    Posted By Me, Fullerton, CA : October 8, 2007 12:38 pm

    wow, what a disgrace. I guess you must think marijuana is evil, the evil weed right? Ever think that maybe GOD put marijuana on this earth. To hell with you and your ideas.

    October 9, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Robert, Oakland, CA

    He should have told the guy he was an idiot for thinking that there is no legal drug on the market that could have the same effects on his problems. But then he wouldn't be able to use the excuse of medicinal needs to go and get hi...

    October 9, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. JmH

    They burn the plants ,then they grow more."legalize it".no sense into that,i just dont think its anyone's bussiness of how we live.if pot can help one that is not well or suffering then they should have a right to use it..its way cheaper than a prescribed drug that only covers up the problem.look at all the seniors in nursing homes they take so many pills, i bet if they were prescribed pot, they could walk freely and get out of there wheel chairs.

    October 9, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. Ryan, New York, NY

    People, before you crucify the guy, just do some google search on marijuana side effects and adverse effects. Some of the common side effects include:

    * Trouble remembering things
    * Sleepiness
    * Anxiety
    * Paranoia (feeling that people are “out to get you”)
    * Altered time perception

    Using marijuana for a long time makes some people lose interest in school, work, relationships and other activities. It may also cause legal problems. Using marijuana can be especially dangerous in certain situations, such as when you are driving.

    Marijuana causes physical side effects as well, some of which are: Dry mouth, Nausea, Headache, Tremor,
    Decreased coordination, Increased heart rate, Altered pulmonary status
    Altered body temperature, Reduced muscle strength, Decreased cerebral blood flow, Increased food consumption.

    To me, it is no-brainer that marijuana causes more damage than good
    Posted By Val Davydov, Agawam, MA : October 9, 2007 12:11 am

    First, these side effects, as with any other drug, don't effect everyone the same. Second, you're stating these and saying it's a no-brainer. Do you feel the same about pharmaceuticals that are given out? The side effects seem worse to me, as shown below by these two random choices. Go look up any others, I'm sure you'll find they're similar.

    Side effects of Prozac: Some people experience side effects like nausea, difficulty sleeping, drowsiness, anxiety, nervousness, weakness, loss of appetite, tremors, dry mouth, sweating, decreased sex drive, impotence, yawning, changes in sexual desire or satisfaction,

    Side effects of Valium: an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, face, or tongue; or hives); sores in the mouth or throat; yellowing of the skin or eyes; a rash;
    hallucinations or severe confusion; changes in your vision; drowsiness, dizziness, or clumsiness; depression; nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation; difficulty urinating; vivid dreams; headache; dry mouth; decreased sex drive; or changes in behavior.

    On the plus side, all of them decrease your sex drive, meaning that they can sell more Viagra.

    October 9, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. ducdebrabant, New York, NY

    I don't expect any Republican candidate to support medical marijuana, and as long as it's a crime, obviously Mitt intends to arrest doctors, at least, for prescribing it, and presumably patients for possessing it. All that is regrettable but clear. What's not clear to me is how anybody with any heart at all turns away from a terminally ill person in a wheelchair who has just asked if he'll be arrested for using the only thing that allows him to have an appetite and IMMMEDIATELY RESUMES HIS BLANK-EATING GRIN FOR THE FOLKS. This guy Romney is nothing on a plate, a zero with mayonnaise, don't hold the hypocrisy.

    October 9, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. Dan, Toledo, Ohio

    for those of you who say its detrimental...why not show us where these reports are? not a single person has died from its usage since its first recorded usage. They say you would need to smoke a pound of weed a minute for 15 minutes to MAYBE recieve a lethal dose...think about ciggarettes and alcohol...can you tally up all of those deaths since their birth? The marijuana plant is the most useful plant on this planet...us ignorant, ideological, and just plain stupid americans buy anything FOX news and the media tells us...there is not one bit of qualified unaltered evidence that says marijuana is bad for you...maybe its tar...but vaporize it and you are golden. The first law in America regarding marijuana was that every American was required to grow it for its alternate purposes. I believe the colony was Virginia. Its in history...read an unaltered nonconservative book a learn some truth for once.

    October 10, 2007 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  13. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Posted By Rick, Chicago Illinois : October 8, 2007 7:29 pm

    Nice to hear from you "Ricky", did you just get out?

    Romney stated that he is against Medicinal marijuana (I disagree with him on this "Ricky"), he made his stance on the SUBJECT plain as hell.

    You know and I know that this guy is a plant who keeps going around asking the same type of question (NOT TO DEMOCRATS THOUGH) and there is no good answer to his hypothetical question, as either way, it is a losing answer, so the best answer would be to either support or not support the usage.

    It's called political nuance "Ricky" and they all use it, ESPECIALLY Hillary, except she doesn't answer hypothetitcals.

    No anger towards the guy, like Shrillary was with her LIBERAL plant, just a nuanced answer.

    Welcome back.

    October 10, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  14. AmericanWoman

    I'm dropping off his team as of Monday. Only a brainwashed idiot would fall for that line that if it's dangerous for children, it should be outlawed for adults. You could also apply that to driving a car or drinking beer, you morons. It's a con job being perpetuated by big money from the pharmaceutical companies who have legally taken control over our bodies, as well as both major parties, for profit.

    I do not like Ron Paul and don't agree with him about foreign policy in many instances, but we have problems here at home that are never addressed, because big money has a louder voice than we do, and it's time we started focusing on our own rights and lives for a change. The powers that be in the Dem and Repub party have been playing diaper games with us, while pretending they are capable of being our leaders. Go blow your snotty noses and get the hell out of our way.

    I'm descended from Christian pioneers who used herbal healing in the wilderness and believed in the Bible, where Jesus said not to let others tell us what to put in our bodies, those things came from the Lord. They also fought for my autonomy and rights in the Revolution and I'm ready to fight again at the polls for my God, my freedom and my country.

    You're in over your head, Romney.

    October 13, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. AmericanWoman

    I would like to add that it's one thing to "use" something and another to "abuse" it. I even ran into one woman who was so out of control over her desires, she was grabbing flower pots out of my hand at a nursery and her explanation was that she was "on a diet." Maybe it's time we made geraniums illegal, too. Overspending or wanting what others have is just a cover up for some other personal problem and we are enablers for putting those temptations in their faces.

    October 13, 2007 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. Palpoman, Canton, MI

    this guy is pretty harsh. he should lighten up!

    October 14, 2007 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. Tony Brauer Rainbow City Alabama

    This man iS a complete moron. I smoke pot everyday and i wouldn't hurt a fly. We need to arrest crack heads not normal people. This guy has lost my vote. not Because he won't legalize marijuana, but because he is the dumbest person i've ever seen.

    October 19, 2007 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. Christopher Largen, Denton, TX

    Mitt Romney's ignorant stance on medical marijuana belies a deeper, more critical issue for our nation. Since national polls consistently indicate that medical marijuana has 70-80% support from Americans, Romney is clearly willing to oppose the vast majority in order to enrich his pharmaceutical company lobbyists, who can't obtain research patents on substances that grow naturally. Let's not forget that methamphetamine is LEGAL for medical use in the U.S. (marketed under the brand name Desoxyn), and yet we don't see Romney jumping up and down about "protecting the children" when it comes to medical meth. That's because big pharma patents and profits from the sythetic drugs.

    Romney is liar who would throw your sick grandmother in jail before he would allow the free market to operate. He loses my vote.

    October 26, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  19. mona, diamond bar california

    Mitt Romney needs to wake up and realize that there are people out there everyday that rely on medical marijuana just to survive and if he cant understand the needs of americans than he needs to get out.......

    December 12, 2007 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  20. jo , columbia,ms

    To those saying: “he does not understand because he and his family don’t have a disease that leaves you in pain so bad that you need pot.” I REMIND YOU HIS WIFE HAS Multiple Sclerosis-–A disease that leaves you unable to function with pain and lethargy. So don’t play that card!

    I have been a nurse for 20 yrs and I have seen pain. I have worked in oncology, telemetry, geriatrics, and pediatrics. I also have seen that the pain can and is relieved by conventional drugs. Those who say pot is the only answer are wrong and obviously do not understand pain management or just want an excuse to buy dope legally.

    December 15, 2007 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  21. Russ

    Perfect example of a candidate with no empathy. I'm glad I never worked for him and surely would never vote for him.

    I've worked in pharmacy for a long time and each medication affects each individual differently. There is no drug that works the same for everyone.

    Pain can be relieved by scheduled meds but that's not always the answer. Many of those meds are highly physically addictive and if marijuana is helping those who choose relief in other forms, then who are we to say what is right or wrong for them? ...Maybe Mitt can? lol.

    January 6, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  22. Pekin, IL

    I don't want to seem like a one issue voter but even if I had previously supported him I would not vote for him after seeing this. It's not so much that he doesn't support the legalization of something I am an advocate of, it's that it shows that he is blatantly ignorant. They have a small argument for full decriminalization, a very small one, but I don't see how any semi-informed person living in the 21st century can make an argument against medical marijuana. Romney asked the man if he had taken prescriptions for his disease, prescriptions that are far more dangerous than cannabis so he is really just making a hypocrite out of himself.

    January 7, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  23. Pekin, IL

    I meant argument against full decriminalization.

    January 7, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  24. jerry larry

    white america

    February 5, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11