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. Gerald Sutliff, Bakersfield CA

    Mitt's personal opinion and/or belief about medical marijuana are his own and he's entitled to them and should even express them. However his refusal to say whether he would "arrest" a medical marijuana user is a clue to his political agenda.

    October 8, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. Dave, New York, NY

    The FDA approves dangerous and addictive DRUGS every day.. these drugs are KILLING people. Yet doctors say medical marijuana is saving lives. I think we should listen to the doctors! The FDA obviously does not really care about patients – only lobbyists.

    October 8, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Dan Austin, TX

    Marijuana should be legalized at the federal level for recreational use... PERIOD! If any of these candidates knew how to play politics, they'd start immediately campaigning on that front, as well as offering to release ALL non-violent pot offenders from our prisons. This debate has got to end. Polls show that 80% of Americans favor legislation that would lift the ban on marijuana. Doesn't it seem like in a democracy where the will of the people is to be met by their leaders that someone in this race should stand up and say, "it's a ridiculous law and I vot to abolish it."?

    I want to note a comment from above by a God fearing Christian named ME. Don't worry about God... GOD DOESN'T EXIST, and nor do ANY reasons why pot should remain a controlled substance in this country. America, land of the belligerent and oppressed.

    October 8, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. Brad F., Salt Lake City, UT

    Kate in Aurora, CO nails it: Marijuana will NEVER be legalized in the U.S. because of bought-and-paid-for politicians (ALL of them) in Washington D.C. Look at the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 and ask why it was passed in the first place? Google the name Harry Anslinger and read about his conspiracy against Hemp (think about the entire Reefer Madness idiocy). Big Corporate America back in '37, specifically Big Alcohol, Big Tobacco, Big Lumber, DuPont, William Randolph Hearst, etc. all made sure the 'evil weed' Hemp/Marijuana was made illegal. Hemp/Marijuana is a uniquely versatile crop that can be used for a myriad of textiles (rope, paper, clothing, plastics, etc.), in addition to its relaxing, mind-altering capabilities. If marijuana/hemp were legal, it would have a dramatic impact on bottom-line revenues for many Big Money Corporations.
    70 years after the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, we obviously know of the medical benefits of marijuana, but again, Big Drug Companies (in addition to others listed) have been working for many years behind the scenes to keep it illegal. It's a shame our government is controlled by men who will do anything for anybody as long as it lines their pockets with Benjamins ($$$$$$), regardless if it makes common sense and would benefit America long-term.
    Marijuana may not be legal, but it is easy to find (although spendy). As long as you smoke it in the confines of your own home, the government will probably leave you alone. Yes, even in ultra-conservative Utah.
    Oh by the way, get off of Mitt Romney just because he's a Mormon. Like Mormons are any worse than any other religious group. I'm sick and tired of hearing about how it's a cult because it's only been around 177 years. Most of you who bag on the Mormons could use a little education about its history. Is it different than Catholocism or the MYRIAD of protestant faiths? Of course, but there are far more similarities, with the most important one being live the Golden Rule and treat others as Jesus would have.

    October 8, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Matt, Ellington, CT

    I am seeing a lot of responses stating: "Keep in mind Romney is Mormon and they do not allow mind altering substances." My argument is that the entire United States is NOT Mormon. It is very typical of most politicians to push there close minded views without bending the other way even when evidence supporting things such as more stem cell research, drug laws and sentances that make sense, as well as providing healthcare to every American. The facts are that people are getting sentances which exceed sentances of rape for selling drugs or possessing. Stem cell research has proven to be key in curing diseases such as diabetes, which I struggle to deal with as well as to pay for. In the meantime drug companies and insurance companies are in charge of our health and frequently profit on our health care denying and setting their own standards based on their research, consistenly increasing profits each year. When I hear the argument that we don't have long waits to see doctors like other countries, my simple answer to that is when everyone gets health care there is going to be a longer wait and we should not exclude people from basic health care because they cannot afford it, I would be more than happy to wait another 2 months to see my Endocrinologist if it meant many more people with diabetes could get care. To end my rant Romney showed typical U.S. politics by avoiding the question and walking away turning his back to the tough questions.

    October 8, 2007 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Jerry

    I lost my fiancee to a terminal kidney disease four years ago. During her battle and treatments (including chemo), not one single prescribed anti-nausea medication worked. The only thing she tried that worked was smoking marijuana (isn't it an oxymoron to try swallowing an anti-nausea med anyway...how can you keep it down if you're vomiting every few minutes?!). Her MD told her "if smoking marijuana eliminates your nausea and allows you to eat, feel better and be stronger, then do it."

    This is heartbreaking to think that anyone would prefer to make a chemo patient suffer.

    Not that I'd wish my fiancee's illness on anyone, but it sure makes me pause when I see a holier-than-thou politician try to dictate what's right for a sick/dieing person. Romney better hope there isn't such thing as karma...because it sure hurts seeing someone you love suffer so much when it doesn't need to be.

    October 8, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. Ryan Greene

    I don't care what his religious beliefs tell him about altered states of mind...his stance is completely inhumane, as was his response. He basically just told that guy that he didn't care if he lived or died...and that he would arrest him.

    I think the only admirable candidate on either side right now is Ron Paul...who ,by the way, supports legalization and taxation of cannabis. I side with common sense!

    ((In five years, (exaggeration)...I bet we could kill that deficit with the money from cannabis consumption alone))

    October 8, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. Linda - Albany, NY

    Amazing! This schmuck [Mitt] is against substances that harm the body, but suggests this guy try "synthetic" substances to help?!? Why on earth would anyone want to choose a synthetic substance over a natural one that has proven effective time and time again?

    Sounds like Mitt is not only ignorant, but also uneducated. It's obvious he lacks common sense.

    October 8, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Derek, Grand Rapids, MI

    Not only would Ron Paul legalize medical marijuana, he would decriminalize personal use. A move that would saves millions, perhaps billions, of tax dollars for prosectuing victimless crimes.

    October 8, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. spinstopper

    Why is CNN keeping Mitt's media produced MM moment at the top of its ticker? Are they following Hillary's lead of down playing Sandy Burger's involement in her shameless campaign??

    October 8, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Pam Holt Los Angeles, CA

    What a LOSER!

    October 8, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  12. Drew, Chicago, IL

    Romey is a sleaze ball.

    October 8, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. Aaron, Sterling VA

    Someone needs to ask Dr. Ron Paul about this. Being as he's the ONLY candidate with ANY medical experience, I think his is the ONLY opinion I'd actually listen to.

    October 8, 2007 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  14. Pam Holt Los Angeles, CA

    It is unconscionable that anyone would deprive sick people of the medicine that helps them.

    Dennis Kucinich believes marijuana should be decriminalized, which would free up so much tax money paying for the incarceration of Americans arrested on pot charges. If the government taxed it, we could be out of debt in no time, and the people would be glad to pay extra for the assurance that they won't get arrested.

    October 8, 2007 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  15. Aaron smithsburg maryland

    If there is any doubt whether marijuana has been used as political scapegoat for minorities, the poor, immigrants, and pretty much anybody affiliated with the counter culture, look at this talking head pandering to the social elite who won't partake in such savage past times. It is the number one cash crop in the United States. In many cases grown right here in America, by Americans, for Americans. Stop the propaganda. Appalachia smokers 4 life

    October 8, 2007 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  16. Greg

    I doubt he ever had your vote.
    And for everyone else, Mormons can use caffeine.

    October 8, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  17. Victor, Los Angeles

    No. Not all Republicans are against medical marijuana.

    Dr. Ron Paul is this exception and he wants to end the War on Drugs. Drug abuse should not a crime, it's a medical problem! Do we throw alcoholics into prison?

    October 8, 2007 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. heartlight 3, Maui, HI

    Several of these comments ask what the positions of the other candidates are on the legalization of medical marijuana. This website details the positions of all the candidates on this matter.

    All of the Democrats favor legalizing it,with Biden having reservations about it, and only Paul and Tancredo favoring it on the Republican side.

    October 8, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. JW Fort Lauderdale FL

    if mitt gets elected he will outlaw everything and be in everyones bedroom. this guy has flip flopped on every single issue, he is a political hack who is now funding his own campaign because contributions are not coming in... there is no reason why medical marijuana should not be legalized, this is just another issue of republicans wanting to be in your business and tell you how to live.

    October 8, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  20. Damon

    Boy there are a lot of angry pot smokers commenting on this article. They get so mad that yet another public figure thinks pot smoking should be illegal, that they didn't even pay attention to what Romney said.
    He very clearly answered the question. If he believes something should not be legal, that necessarily means that someone could get arrested for doing it. As far as him being rude or cocky goes, he disagrees with the guy's position 100%. What more is there for them to talk about? If a presidential candidate took 10 minutes out of the day to have a lovefest every time he/she came across someone who disagreed with them, they would never get anything done. POT IS A STARTER DRUG THAT MAKES PEOPLE STUPID. STOP SMOKING IT.

    October 8, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. A, Colorado

    It's funny how we focus so much on an illegal drug that benefits a few instead of working issues that affect millions.

    October 8, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. Robert Thair

    I think it's interesting that McCain isn't in favor of drugs, since he hired Mark McKinnon, a former cocaine dealer from Austin Texas, as his advisor.

    October 8, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  23. Lisa, San Diego, CA

    Sure, marijuana use would go against Romney's Mormon beliefs. But, is he running his campaign based solely on those beliefs or on the basis of the greater good for the country? I want to vote for someone who sees the big picture of the greater good, not someone whose hand is in the pocket of the pharmaceutical companies.

    October 8, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. Carl Spackler - IL

    To Laurinda in NY.

    The reason why Guliani is not the Mayor anymore is because of Term Limits.

    Why does everyone want to legalize Marijuana? Is it because it will be easier for you to get a joint?

    Are we absolutely sure that no one has died from Marijuana? No one has gotten behind a wheel while they were stoned and went into a tree or worse yet, another car? Of course this happens with alcohol, but it still is not right. But to say that Marijuana has never killed anyone is a bit much.

    I am not aware that the FDA allows medical Cocaine. That is a new one to me.

    October 8, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. Sue - Silver Spring, MD

    America, get with it. This is not the reefer madness BS of the 50's.
    Try walking in these folks shoes and try to relate to the normal humans on this planet.
    The argument is about as sane as the stem cell debate.

    October 8, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
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