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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- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Mitt Romney • New Hampshire
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. Treehorn, Amsterdam, Netherlands

    I'm not sure. But is Romney a whimp for not answering a question from a nice and harmless young man, or a bully for running away faster than the kid could possibly chase him?

    October 8, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. Bubba the Prophet, Swainsboro GA

    Damon, next year they're going to outlaw coffee, then cigarettes. Just wait.

    October 8, 2007 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. David, Laramie, Wyoming

    Someone made the comment that Mormons are opposed to mind altering substances. I'm Mormon, and yes, I am opposed. But, guess what...I happen to be in favor of medical use marijuana. I have a step-daughter who has medical problems that I won't go into, and the drug out there that helps her is pot. I'm in favor if its for that purpose, and that purpose only.

    October 8, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Billy, Baltimore, MD

    This is exactly why the Republicans didn't want to do the YouTube debate initially. They are bad at caring about people and are not the party of the people. Answering unscripted, direct questions from constituents is uncomfortable at best.

    This could be considered a little preview of the YouTube debate. Or is CNN going to go easy on them?

    October 8, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. Irene, Clearwater FL

    I'm not upset about his answer. I think it's incredibly stupid to not legalize for medical uses, but that isn't what makes me see red here.

    What gets me is the way he treated that young man. Shameful, the walking away while gladhanding and talking over his repeated question.

    NO he didn't answer the question because while he doesn't support the usage, it doesn't mean that he will increase enforcement or leave it to the states to mandate or study the issue.

    He just blew off the guy in a wheelchair, after barely making eye contact and acting superior and know-it-all about synthetics (that are MUCH more expensive and much less effective) as if the young man wasn't smart enough to have tried those???

    REAL presidential behavior, that.

    October 8, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. Keith


    Did anyone else notice that after the cameraman presses him – "You're just going to ignore a man in a wheelchair?" – Romney turns and says, "He's worthless."

    I'm serious. Watch the video again. He calls a handicapped guy worthless.

    Ethically, isn't this worth about 4,000 Dean Screams?

    October 8, 2007 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |


    October 8, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. John W, Seattle, WA

    William Randolph Hearst & Lammonte DuPont did a great deal of harm in smearing marijuana like they did, so they could profit. Hearst went on to harvest millions of acres of timberland to print his newspapers on, and DuPont went on to market synthetic fabrics, which are no good to the environment. Before the "Reefer Madness" campaign, and before the pharmaceutical industry pushed aspirin, weed was a quite common pain reliever.

    October 8, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. bukky, Baltimore, MD

    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.

    Posted By Carl Spackler – IL

    Believe it... no one has ever died becuase of PLAIN Marijuana. If they did it would make the news. WHY!?!?! because high people drive slower than Ms Daisy. While alchohol makes people reckless and drive fast. If a pot smoker WAS to hit a three or another car it would be at 5 miles per hour.

    And Medical Cocaine... what do you think Methadone is? Plenty of people have died using that THAT stuff.

    You arguement is flawed because, Alcohol, cigarettes, and methadone are legal. All of which are HORRIBLE for people. They have been proven time and time again to KILL people. POT by all accounts (yes makes teenagers lazy) but on the other hand saves lifes, and keeps people from pain

    October 8, 2007 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. Thom, San Francisco CA

    Romney shows his true colors and what a jerk he is. He just walk away from that poor boy and didn't answer his question.
    Is this the kind of heartless man we running our country.


    October 8, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. sue aspen granda hills ca.

    Hey, there is so much Mormon bashing going on....I'm almost scared for my life and my children's lives. Everyone needs to calm their hatred down and learn some facts...you don't want to come across sounding like the Nazis during WWII with their accusations against others that were differernt then them. I hope CNN you will post my following comments because you have let a lot of hazing comments towards Mormons be posted, like Magic Pajamas. Many religious people wear religious clothing. Our undergarments are sacred to us. We wear our religion under our clothing because it is a sacred and personal thing. There is nothing weird about them. They are functional and I for one am not ashamed to be endowed as we call it in our church. Go to our website for more info on our Temple Endowments.

    Just for clarity on Mormon's Word of Wisdom Beliefs:
    (From Spencer W. Kimball 1942 on of the Mormon Prophets)

    The Lord commands us not to use wine and strong drinks, meaning drinks containing alcohol. The First Presidency has taught that strong drink often brings cruelty, poverty, disease and plague into the home. It often is a cause of dishonesty, loss of chastity, and loss of good judgement. Expectant mothers who drink can cause physical and mental damage to their children. Many automobile accidents are caused each year by people who drink alcohol.
    Tobacco is not for the body. Scientists have shown that tobacco causes diseases and can harm unborn children.

    We have been couseled against "hot drinks". Church leaders have said that this means coffee and tea, which contain harmful ingredients. We should avoid all drinks that contain harmful ingred.
    We should not use drugs except when they are necessary as medicine. Some drugs are even more harmful than alcohol and tobacco.
    We should not use anything that we know is harmful to our bodies. We should not use any substance that is habit forming. The Word of Wisdom does not tell us everything to avoid, but it does give us guidelines. By living the Word Of Wisdom,which also tells us what is good for our bodies, we become stronger spiritually. We purify our bodies so the Spirit of the Lord can dwell with us.

    The Word Of Wisdom is found in
    Mormon Scriptures called the Doctrine and Covenants section 89.

    October 8, 2007 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  12. John, Texas

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

    No, it's because it would bring in billions of dollars in tax revenue, reallocate police resources to more important concerns, card children, make a dent in the cartels by cutting into their profits, reduce exposure to harder drugs, etc.

    "Are we absolutely sure that no one has died from Marijuana?"

    I'm sure they meant overdose. You can't overdose by smoking marijuana while you can with numerous other substances including alcohol. Yes people have died from marijuana, but if you look at the literature, you will note that impairment on marijuana isn't nearly as bad as it is with alcohol. I encourage you to dive in.

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

    Cocaine is schedule 2, thus can be prescribed medicinally.

    October 8, 2007 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. brian s stevens oxnard, ca

    "common sense" makes sense......

    stop the non-sense and legalize it...
    tax it and legalize it....just like
    booze.....must be 21 just think of the tax revenue.......we spend millions on prosecuting and jailing offenders...and it's never going to go away.....wake up!!!!

    October 8, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. Karen, Gardena, CA

    For any of you who oppose medical marijuan, please watch the documentary In Pot We Trust and then decide whether or not it should be legalized. Medical marijuana helps a lot of people go from not being able to function to getting their jobs and their lives back and being able to care for their families. These are basics that apparently some people take for granted.

    October 8, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Don, Akron, Ohio

    I could go on and on but all I really need to say is:
    Wow, sue aspen granda hills ca., you are an idiot on so many levels.

    October 8, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. Caden, Atlanta, Georgia

    As a member of the hemp movement(low thc variety of cannabis) for 20 years, its refreshing to read the many commenters who actually use critical thinking and logic when interpreting their belief on the drug war. Lets not forget that hemp was the #1 crop in the US before prohibition. It's drought/pest resistant and grows anywhere, merely a weed after all. It is estimated that planting a 16th of the land in the continental US could produce all the fuel we need to fill our insatiable need.

    This is an important issue that should be discussed more often.

    October 8, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. Julie McKee Akron Iowa

    They won't legalize medical marijuana yet my children can be prescribed controlled substances for their ADD. So they can hardly use the fact that marijuana is a controlled substance to deny it's being legalized for medical purposes. The drug companies must donate a lot of campaign dollars.

    October 8, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. T Jones

    To the guy who said Mitt Romney said the boy was "worthless"... listen again. It's clear Romney said "I spoke to him". He didn't walk away because he was afraid of stating his opinion. He expressed that clearly. He showed incredibly good judgment by walking away from a political activist who was trying to trap him into saying something regretful. Talk about shameful, the "poor boy" uses his wheelchair as a political platform to obtain instant mercy whether warranted or not. There are MANY options people. Find one that is legal.

    October 8, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. bukky, Baltimore, MD

    TO: By sue aspen granda hills ca

    Oh where do I start...

    First. I agree that some of the postings on here are just Anti-morman BS

    You should have the right to not put into your bodies things you dont want. ON THE OTHER HAND, just because you dont want them in your body does not mean someone else feels the same.

    You have the right to your religion and I have the right to IGNORE your religion

    The point is this political issue is that there is NO REASON WHAT SO EVER for alcohol and cigaretes to be Legal and Marijuana NOT. It makes NO SENSE what so ever. People would not be so upset if they were all Illegal. But to pick one item and say NO, just because is senseless.


    "Church leaders have said that this means coffee and tea, which contain harmful ingredients. We should avoid all drinks that contain harmful ingred."

    Green Tea it absolutely one of the best natural things on the face of this planet to drink.

    October 8, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. David Glick, Staten Island, NY

    Many of you in your rush to condemn Romney fail to mention (and have probably failed to even find out) that Romney's wife Ann has struggled with MS for years. Now consider that he has been married to Ann since the age of 21, they have five children together and 10 grandchildren. This is a man who is intimately connected with disease, it's fear and heartache. Both Mitt and Ann have stated that they would be opposed to certain kinds of research – even if it helped Ann's MS. Bear in mind, they have a lot to lose. However, they have principals that they are not willing to compromise on. Perhaps they even try to look at what they feel is the greater good – in this case, the national good. Whether you agree with Romney's stances on this issue or others, it is a bit infantile to lie and accuse the man of not caring or of being hypocritical or the many other bitter and petty statements that many of you have made. What ever happened to the ability of people to disagree with someone on an issue without becoming angry and hateful?

    October 8, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Valerie, Colora, MD

    I think that Romney clearly showed that he is just another politician. I was appalled by his behavior, but not surprised.

    Sick people ARE being arrested and jailed for using medical marijuana. I know of one case where a person died while in jail for using medical marijuana.

    In the second case, the sick person was turned in by a neighbor that saw his pot plants in a window (nice neighbor). The police stated that this person was growing pot only for his own use in treating his illness. Yet he was arrested and made to stand trial. (I do not know the outcome.)

    For those of you that would like to know the truth of how marijuana came to be illegal, I recommend Peter McWilliams' book "Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do".

    For those of you who see through the stupidity and hypocrisy, and would like to see medical marijuana available to those who need it, please support Republican Ron Paul for president.

    October 8, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton, FL

    Mitt...you obviously need a pair of new "MAGICAL UNDERPANTS" because at the rate you're going...you will never be President of this country!

    October 8, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. my911call, Wilmington, NC


    Did anyone else notice that after the cameraman presses him – "You're just going to ignore a man in a wheelchair?" – Romney turns and says, "He's worthless."

    I'm serious. Watch the video again. He calls a handicapped guy worthless.

    Ethically, isn't this worth about 4,000 Dean Screams?

    Posted By Keith : October 8, 2007 3:23 pm

    -- Now I'M WORRIED --

    October 8, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  24. Starchild, San Francisco, CA

    Ron Paul is for not just respecting state laws allowing people to get medical marijuana, but for ending the whole failed "War on Drugs." Despite needing the votes of more conservative leaning Republican voters to win his primary, he is better than any of the Democrat candidates on the issue. Dr. Paul has voted against Drug War funding and long spoken out on the issue (see for example http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul179.html ). Hilary Clinton failed as First Lady and as a Senator to use her clout for drug reform, and neither she nor the other Democratic presidential aspirants are speaking out against Prohibition despite their left-leaning base (see http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/03/24/63/ ). Barack Obama has even called for expanding the DEA in New Orleans (see http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle_blog/2007/aug/28/obama_what_new_orleans_needs_is_).

    October 8, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. B, Baltimore


    the history channel did a special few year back on why certain drugs were illegal.

    turnsout marijuana was only made illegal so the border patrol had a reason to stop and arrest the people crossing the border with it.

    Pot was the smoke of choice for blacks and mexicans, People felt like these people were taking there jobs so found a reason to arrest them.

    ALL you have to do is watch the original "reefer madness" and you'll see that all of it was just propaganda at its best.

    October 8, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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