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."

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Filed under: Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. Chris, Middletown, CT

    "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.”" – hmmm...so any acusation (albeit unfounded) is printed in the New York Times – ok...I want them to print this "A blogger on CNN acused Hillary of throwing stray puppies at cancer patients" – wait....they won't?? (liberal left believes this....such effing morons)

    October 8, 2007 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. C.J. Austin, TX

    Forget party lines here, this is one of the best examples of governmental closed-mindedness in the country today. It's a PLANT. A PLANT. IT GROWS IN THE GROUND LIKE TOBACCO.

    October 8, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. Disgusted, Iowa City

    Having someone in my family going through chemo right now, I just saw the bills for anti-nausea pills. 100 bucks a pop....thats one-hundred dollars, PER PILL.

    A decent bag of marjuana will cost about $50 and should keep for a month.

    So if you were to take a pill every day, thats $3,000.

    Or buy a bag of weed for $50.

    Big Pharma and our bureaucrats are raping the sick in our country.

    October 8, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. A patient, Boulder, CO

    I'm glad to see how many people commenting here are sensible people. I have a chronic pain condition that is only manageable with (natural, not synthetic) marijuana. Without this medication, I would be bed-bound – with it, I am able to fulfill my potential as a productive and happy member of our society (I am a university instructor and PhD candidate).

    While John McCain may be right that no one is arresting DEAD PEOPLE (god, what an idiot), patients are in fact arrested and convicted on a regular basis. A man with AIDS was recently convicted on drug charges in Colorado (where medical marijuana is legal!) because his doctor was too afraid of legal consequences to give him a written (as opposed to verbal) recommendation to use cannabis. Extremely sick people are living in fear every day. The commenter above me, Kate, is wrong, though – ALL of the Democratic candidates have said they will stop the DEA from arresting patients.

    I'd like to end by noting that Romney being a Mormon should have nothing to do with this. I support Mormons' choices not to imbibe substances – I think this is a healthy way to live. But this should not affect Romney's political policy – he isn't trying to prohibit alcohol or caffeine, even though these are also considered drugs to Mormons. And we aren't even talking about legalizing marjuana – we're talking about letting extremely sick and dying people maintain a reasonable quality of life using a natural substance that God put on this planet. A substance which, by the way, was a part of the official United States Pharmacopeia until 1941 – and even after this, the Journal of the American Medical Association continued to support the medicinal use of marijuana for some time. An administrative judge (Francis L. Young) with the US Drug Enforcement Agency also said about cannabis in 1988, that "in its natural form, it is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known." As soon as drug companies find a way to make money off of this (which is tough, since anyone can grow this plant themselves), it'll be legal.

    October 8, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. ginny

    Rich and compassionate conservatives are amazing people, always able to walk a mile in another man's shoes.

    October 8, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  6. jordan, san diego, ca

    Romney is a creepy politician, phony as can be. What a disgrace. I am so sickened by watching him that I cant even write. Wake up America its time for Ron Paul! Ronpaul2008.com!

    October 8, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. America inc!

    You go Kate!!

    October 8, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. Ken Garing Modesto, CA

    Legalize it.
    Tax it.
    Save millions by not arresting and prosecuting harmless marijuana users.

    October 8, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. Get Real


    October 8, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. South Bend, Indiana

    I wonder how many of these people have previously smoked pot prior to their Medical condition and are using this as a crutch to do it legally now.

    He did answer the persons question.

    October 8, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. jeff M. berwyn, IL

    I think the most obvious thing here is if there are pharmaceutical companies who have made pills that simulate the chemical properties of marijuana – it OBVIOUSLY must have some medical merit.
    So why deny people the right to smoke "weed"? It's about corporations and their political enablers making a profit.

    October 8, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. Herbert Stiles, Hudson, NH

    I live in NH and the only people I know who support Romney give as their reason "He looks more presidential than the other candidates". Serious minded voters know what he is from his days in Massachusetts, nothing but an oportunist.

    October 8, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. Sam Smith, Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Regarding Mormons and mind altering drugs–Ephedra grows wild in Utah–they call it Mormon tea. We all know about ephedrine, now don't we?? Cannabis, medical use and the money in question are the most interesting topics in the presidential race. New blood, so to speak, is being drawn in the Drug War.

    October 8, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. South Bend, Indiana

    I want to add, it's amazing at how political this has become.

    It's also funny to watch the left wingers vs. the right wingers. You guys are pathetic!

    October 8, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. B., Omaha NE

    just by reading the responses i can assume that a large majority of the country has at some point smoked pot, or atleast recognize the finer qualities of the drug, and even though this country has serious problems, we still seem to be – for the most part – ok.

    wow – total run-on sentence...

    anywho... why are we still having the discussion about pot. isn't it ok yet to smoke it? didn't god create all plants and animals? why is that one singled out as horrible?

    as for the money aspect... i once heard that "The Marboro Men" owned rights to market the first marijuana cigarette.

    seems to me it would be a cash cow.. and since they practically own the world (along with 'the terrorists") wouldn't it make since to make it all legal?

    just some (half-baked) thoughts

    October 8, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. Mark, Austin TX

    Wow, some of you Romney haters sure are angry. Grrr. Lets see how awesome things get when Obama or Hillary gets in the oval.

    Im a Romney Supporter and even I felt he brushed him off at the end a tad harshly – but it sounded like he (guy in wheel chair) tried to corner him or trick him to answer a question he couldnt.

    Romney was clear – no medical marijuana. Where's the confusion?

    Romney if elected is not a policeman. He can't arrest anyone.

    I believe the correct answer "should" have been, "I'm not a doctor or a scientist, but I will look into these things if elected. I'll do everything I can to look to science for reasonable answers to help individuals like yourself get better. I'm very sorry about your situation. Its really unfair."

    October 8, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. Peter, Houston Texas

    I have voluteered for the Texas MDA, and I never knew how serious the condition was until I became a volunteer. Romney's actions are abhorrent, but they are not uncommon for a politician. His blatant disregard for the issue and ease to talk about terrorism shows his obvious stance towards continuing the agenda of the Bush Administraion. I also believe that if doctors that approving of medical marijauna would make there position more obvious and unite then the issue would recieve more attention. Until medical profssionals decide to tell the truth as a united front (4 of 5 apparently)then the issue will continue to recieve the cold shoulder. By the way, CommonSense makes a good point.

    October 8, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. jay, Snellville, GA

    Ron Paul has gone on the record and said he would want medical mari. legalized.


    October 8, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. Bruce Mirken, San Francisco, CA, www.mpp.org

    There is no such thing as "synthetic marijuana." There is a pill called Marinol which contains synthetic THC, the component responsible for marijuana's "high," but other components such as cannabidiol have been shown to contribute to marijuana's therapeutic benefits. And, as the Institute of Medicine, The Lancet Neurology, and other experts have noted, THC taken orally is absorbed so slowly and unevenly that dose control is effectively impossible.

    October 8, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Dennis, Kamuela HI

    You are right about one thing, we do have better things to do on a Saturday morning than listen to a politician. We could be listening to a statesman like Ron Paul, for example.

    October 8, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Phillipe Farneti, herndon Va

    Ohhh...my god...he smoked POT....-uses a razor to cut up some coke-Ohh..dude can you save me some??

    October 8, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. James from Troy, New York

    This is such a "fair" blog entry. Bravo CNN!

    October 8, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. MajorTom

    Bite your tongue Clayton!
    The front door delivery service I get is way more preferable than government involvement..:)-

    October 8, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. Roger, Edna Bay, AK

    Why don't we ask the candidates if they know why Marijuana was made illegal in the first place? A clue, it was done in the 1930s, largely due to the beliefs of ONLY a single person, accompanied by a massive campaign of false and misleading propaganda paid for by public tax dollars.

    Why do we accept, without question, that marijuana should have been made illegal in the first place? No politician wants to re-visit that issue because of the truth it will lead to.

    As with everything else done in a deceptive and underhanded way – follow the money. Who stands to benefit financially by keeping marijuana illegal?? Answer that candidates!!!

    October 8, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. wendy, albany,ga

    O.K. I believe in legalisation.
    I was wondering if any of the candidates have a problem with mass urinalysis. I feel it is a violation of privacy or unreasonable search and seizure over something that comes out of my body!
    I seriously have a problem with schools,private companies or even the government being big brother to my bodily fluids.
    What next?
    And those of you who think a drug free workplace needs to have a urinalysis..well learn the facts!!
    People on certain anitdepressents and other medications for injuries, either will not get the job because tell before hand aor dont get the job because they failed and no questions were asked!
    How many show false positives?
    The tests really only test for pot not for other drugs, because they only last in the body for a few days!
    How does that show that you are using drugs in the workplace?
    Why doesn't it test for alcohol?
    Why doesn't it test for LSD?
    Why should we test at all?
    They can not dictate our weekends, vacation, or things that we might have done or taken in the past couple of months.

    Is no one concerned about Big Brother having our pee, blood or spit? After all, we do sign the concent form!!!

    How is this any better than a national ID?

    October 8, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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