Mitt Romney: 'People Who Are Sick Need Medicinal Marijuana'

Unfortunately, I am quoting him completely out of context. In my column last week, I described Romney as uncommitted on the question of whether he would stop the DEA's medical marijuana raids if elected president. His answer to a general question about the war on drugs from drug policy activist Matt Simon at a recent forum in New Hampshire makes his position pretty clear: 

It's been disappointing to see the trajectory of the war on drugs. Are we making progress in some areas? Yes. We spend about $750 million in Colombia alone to help them eradicate the growth of cocaine there. We're spending a substantial amount in Afghanistan to try and replace that crop. Um, we're spending a lot to try to keep drugs from growing around the world. We're not doing a terrific job in helping kids decide not to try drugs, and that's one of the frustrations I have. People talk about medicinal marijuana, and, you know, you hear that story: People who are sick need medicinal marijuana. But marijuana is the entry drug for people trying to get kids hooked on drugs. I don't want medicinal marijuana. There are synthetic forms of marijuana that are available for people who need it for prescription. Don't open the doorway to medicinal marijuana.

The New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy has Simon's recording of Romney's meandering response here. In addition to strongly suggesting that Romney would continue to snatch marijuana from the hands of patients in states that have approved the plant's medical use, his answer reveals him to be ill-informed and utterly unimaginative when it comes to drug policy. He equates inputs with outputs: If  "we're spending a lot," we must be "making progress." He accepts the Joe Fridayesque myth that teenagers typically smoke pot because they're tricked into it by "people trying to get kids hooked on drugs." After condemning medical marijuana, he goes on to endorse the canard that drug use rises under Democratic presidents and falls under Republican presidents because Democrats are degenerate dope smokers and Republicans are fine upstanding teetotalers who set a better example. He concludes that we need to "reinstitute a campaign as powerful as Just Say No was."

As I've said before, the story Republicans want to tell about why drug use has gone down and up and down since the late 1970s does not fit the facts very well: Self-reported drug use began to fall well before Just Say No, and, after climbing at the beginning of the Clinton administration, it began to fall again three years before George W. Bush took office.

[Thanks to Dale Gieringer for the tip.]

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  • ||

    "reinstitute a campaign as powerful as Just Say No was."

    LOL

  • ||

    To expound on my earlier comment, as part of the "Just Say No" generation, that program was neither powerful nor in my case very effective. Even the Cartoon All-Stars did not save this child of the 80s from partaking in the devil weed later in his life.

    What a massive tool Romney is.

  • Anonymous Bastert||

    It's just nice to see that Romney, as opposed to you twits, is trying to do SOMETHING to help the children.

  • ||

    "reinstitute a campaign as powerful as Just Say No was."

    I can't wait to see Gary Coleman sitting on Nancy Reagan's lap again.

  • Paul||

    That's nice, except you can't smoke it anywhere in public, or where there are employees, or in your car, or in your house, or your apartment. Smoking causes cancer. Next issue...

  • ||

    .. I've got a pretty good idea that the same progess will be made on drug policy after the 2008 elections that has been made since the mid-60's .. ie, none ..

    .. Hobbit

  • ||

    Thar argument is reason #657432 why I will never vote for a modern-day Pharisee like Romney.

    His Eric Donderoesque whimpers of "9/11! 9/11!" when Ron Paul pointed out that the "stay the course in Iraq/Nuke Iran" advocates had been very wrong about every prediction they had made regarding the middle east was reason #657431.

    What a colossal tool the man is.

  • ||

    He won't get the nomination
    or the veep slot
    the only reason he is a frontrunner is cash

  • Paul||

    the only reason he is a frontrunner is cash

    Nah. We've been through this before. Money doesn't buy elections. See: Forbes, Perot, Rockefeller.

  • ||

    Don't open the doorway to medicinal marijuana.

    Because after that, its a short step to medicinal coke, medicinal meth, and medicinal heroin.

  • Randolph Carter||

    for the internet generation:

    Just say Oh Noes!!!11!11!!!!1!1

  • ||

    I really liked Romney's gems from last Sunday's debate, like this one re: Giuliani's proposal for a $15,000 health insurance tax break:

    "We have to have our citizens insured, and we're not going to do that by tax exemptions, because the people that don't have insurance aren't paying taxes."

    Frankly, I'm gonna miss GWB's amazing vocabulary, and it's possible ... just possible ... that a guy like Romney could replace him.

  • Jerry||

    I wonder how many people will take up drugs just because of this season's Democratic and Republican presidential field.

  • ||

    Let's face it: For the typical voter, Romney gave a picture-perfect "answer."
    By the way, I'm working on my library to get them to buy Bryan Caplan's new book, The Myth of the Rational Voter."

  • ||

    I wonder if Romney is going to make medicinal cocaine illegal as well.

  • ||

    We have to have our citizens insured

    Why?

    The truly impoverished are insured via Medicaid. Those who aren't insured have often made the determination that they'd rather spend their money on something else.

    Romney is parroting the premise for socialized medicine.

  • SIV||

    Romney is parroting the premise for socialized medicine.

    That is supposed to be his hole card for the general election.Tout the Massachusetts model and offer the independent voters the healthcare without the other scary liberal trappings.

    We are doomed to some Fed controlled, partially tax funded (well beyond the status quo)" healthcare plan" no matter who is elected.

  • Andrew Pass||

    OK. I'll grant that Romney does not seem to understand drug policy. But do any of the candidates? I hate to ask it, but where are the philosopher rulers that Plato described? I definitely don't see any on the Democratic side either.

    Check out my living textbook: http://www.pass-ed.com/Living-Textbook.html

  • ||

    OK. I'll grant that Romney does not seem to understand drug policy. But do any of the candidates?

    Ron Paul. And to a lesser extent, Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinnuch.

  • Jerry||

    As long as insurance companies are not basing their policies on actuarial science, as they would in a free market system, you have some kind of socialist system of random income redistribution.

    I'd love to see a politican who would attack the War on Drugs. Albeit that such a discussion does not lend itself to debates where candidates are speaking in soundbites. This whole debate thingy is a sham and a racket.

  • SteveInClearwater||

    Little shock that a candidate funded by Melvin Sembler would endorse criminal arrest, prosecution and prison time for medical patients who elect to use marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.

    Melvin and Betty Sembler are well known here in Florida for their funding of anything remotely "anti-drug", including but not limited to forced placement of teenagers in mind-control facilities cut off from their parents and other family members.

    Only a bevy of lawsuits from former "clients" led the Semblers to shut down Straight Inc.

    Sickening irony is that Melvin Sembler has made literally hundreds of millions of dollars financing the construction of pharmacies - many of which here in Florida come with liquor stores attached.

    Melvin and Betty Sembler spend a fair share of their money denouncing drugs while at night sleeping under silk sheets paid for by drug dealers.

  • Eric Dondero||

    Dana Rohrabacher is the leading Republican in the US in favor of Medicinal Marijuana. He's the face of "Republicans for Marijuana Legalization."

    It will be interesting to see which Presidential candidate Dana backs. His friend and Congressional colleague David Dreier is backing Giuliani. But there's been no endorsement yet as far as I know from Dana for anyone.

    Perhaps libertarians should ask Dana to be tough on the GOP contenders on this critical issue, and ask them each if they'd back his Bill?

  • ||

    After watching Romney dodge the FairTax question in the Iowa debate, I already knew he was a complete tool. This just confirms it.

    -jcr

  • tool||

    please, people, stop using my fucking name.

  • ||

    Dondero,

    But is he pro-choice?

  • D. Greene||

    And before you know it, we might have medicinal morphine, or medicinal methadone, or medicinal oxycontin, or medicinal darvocet...

    There is no arguing with these people. The only way to get change is to educate the youth and wait for the old guard to die off.

  • ||

    Only the genetically superior white race can handle marijuana. Once we get ride of all the muds, we can end the drug war. Go to genexp.com for more!

  • WendyT||

    Hugh Akston | August 6, 2007, 7:24pm | #
    "...medicinal marijuana...[is]...a short step to medicinal coke, medicinal meth, and medicinal heroin."


    ---------
    Sounds a-helluva-lot better than "medicinal" Oxycotin or "medicinal" Viagra. At least meth doesn't cause blindness. :p

    The drug war is the epitome of hypocrisy, greed, and selfishness.

  • ||

    Even the Cartoon All-Stars did not save this child of the 80s from partaking in the devil weed later in his life.

    Cesar, thank you so much for the link. It was just what I needed after a day of drinking heavily and lusting after pot. God, I'd forgotten all about that cartoon... I think I actually have an old recording on VHS somewhere. The Ninja Turtles were definitely the awesomest folks on the show.

  • Tom G||

    Eric Dondero -

    If we could just have the OLD Dana Rohrabacher back - the anarcho-capitalist one who was close to Robert LeFevre in the early 70s - I would be sincerely glad of his aid.

  • ||

    Tom G

    I'm afraid that once Dana Rohrabacher got a taste of political power he left a lot of his libertarianism behind.

    He's certainly still one of the best of a bad bunch but at the end of the line he will march lockstep with the GOP establishment.

  • Tom G||

    Isaac Bartram -

    I know; it was just wishful thinking, that's all.
    I'm one of those libertarians who, given the choice, would pick anarchism over GOP establishment any day of the week.

  • ||

    Tom G,
    Come on over to the bright side.
    Peaceful anarchy doesn't mean chaos. It means real freedom.

  • ||

    he goes on to endorse the canard that drug use rises under Democratic presidents and falls under Republican presidents because Democrats are degenerate dope smokers and Republicans are fine upstanding teetotalers who set a better example.



    In light of yesterday's news, can we conclude that soliciting of male prostitutes goes up under Republican administrations?

  • ||

    "...marijuana is the entry drug for people trying to get kids hooked on drugs."

    Correlation is not easy to connect to causation. It might be true that 99% of all coke users had used pot first. But I'll wager that 100% of all coke users drank milk before they tried coke. Hmmmm...

    Milk: the Gateway Drug.

  • ||

    Isn't "medical" heroin called morphine or methadone, depending on the application? Isn't "medicinal" coke or meth called Adderall or Ritalin?

  • brian||

    R C Dean

    We have to have our citizens insured

    Why?


    Because the uninsured can simply go to the emergency room and get "free" (read "taxpayer funded") healthcare anyway. Not having insurance isn't a reflection of personal responsibility unless you pay for all your costs out of pocket, and how many uninsured people do that?

  • ||

    I'll wager that 100% of all coke users drank milk before they tried coke. Hmmmm...

    Not me, I'm lactose intolerant. (Not really, I just think milk tastes like donkey ass.)

  • Jerry||

    @brian
    And how will many of these uninsured take up the bill ("pay taxes") for socialized medicine or mandatory instated health insurance? Not many I guess. Free riders today, free riders tomorrow.

  • ||

    Just on the utility of using debates to decide issues.

    At some point we all became convinced that "debates" were the proper forum to decide major issues from elections to the vitality of the theory of evolution.

    This is a small part of why we are a nation of ignorami when it comes to collective decision making.

    Romney is a fool on the drug issue, but it would take more than ninety seconds to explain why. We're pretty much doomed.

    Thank God I'm a middle class white guy. Otherwise the War on Drugs would be a real drag.

  • ||

    "Because the uninsured can simply go to the emergency room and get "free" (read "taxpayer funded") healthcare anyway."

    Not true. I'm not sure where this myth got started, but I was uninsured a couple of years ago, got hurt and had to pay the bill. Perhaps this only relates to indigent, or the homeless, but if you have a job where wages can be garnished, you're going to pay that hospital bill.

  • ||

    "I just think milk tastes like donkey ass."

    You know what donkey ass tastes like? Were you in the same fraternity I was?

  • ||

    Thanks, SteveinClearwater for bringing up the Sembler link. In a sane world, these monsters & their colluders who funded them, would be in prison for the rest of their lives for torturing thousands of kids. If you havn't heard about this, there are plenty of stories online. Ron Paul is gaining momentum as more and more people are hearing the message. Our local "meet-up group" has more than tripled in size in about 6 weeks. These are not just voters, but committed volunteers making signs, phone calls, etc. Medicinal marijuana? Sure! Doctors & pharmacists used to make up all kinds of different cannabis based medicines for different ailments. There would be no more war on drugs. Only a plan to regulate them and let people decide for themselves.

  • FreeMedCare||

    Lamar,

    Don't show them id or give any correct identity information. Free or cheap antibiotics at your local health department too- just tell them you think you were exposed to VD.You leave with an antibiotic series and a fistfull of condoms.

  • SteveInClearwater||

    LAMAR, no.

    "Medical heroin" is called Heroin. It's not needed for any reason except to help heroin addicts more safely wean themselves off a habit picked up on the street.

    "Medical cocaine" is called Cocaine. It's most common application is in anesthesia.

    "Adderall and Ritalin" are two popular prescription amphetamine drugs.

  • SteveInClearwater||

    FUN FACT!

    J Edgar Hoover, John F Kennedy and many notables of the 1960s and 70s were well known in their circles to receive daily injections of pharmaceutical grade methamphetamine in combination with injections of mega-vitamin blasts.

    They would generally receive their injections right after lunch, so that instead of wanting to take a 1pm nap, they were within about 30 minutes ready to bust some serious ass for the rest of the day and then be able to sleep fine at night once the contents of the injections had passed through the 6 to 8 hour metabolization.

  • ||

    SteveinClearwater: You missed the point, but since I'm an ultra-literal prick most of the time, I'll let it slide.

  • Patrick D||

    "Are we making progress in some areas? Yes. We spend about $750 million in Colombia alone to help them eradicate the growth of cocaine there. We're spending a substantial amount in Afghanistan to try and replace that crop. Um, we're spending a lot to try to keep drugs from growing around the world."

    ... and everyone knows "progress" is best measured by good intentions, effort, and the sums of money spent rather than actual results. Romney is a genuine man of our time.

  • Robert||

    "If we could just have the OLD Dana Rohrabacher back - the anarcho-capitalist one who was close to Robert LeFevre in the early 70s"

    You mean the old, ineffectual Dana Rohrabacher?

    " - I would be sincerely glad of his aid."

    But then he wouldn't've had any aid to give.

  • ||

    I don't know why this is such a big issue to waste time on...we could care less.

  • ||

    One need look no further than Romney's association with the ever sleazy Mel Sembler to understand his position. In the 70's, 80's and early 90's Sembler ran a chain of extremely abusive "treatment centers" where children were tortured, sodomized, and suffered horrible abuse. Straight Inc. morphed into the Drug Free America Foundation and they actually have an influence on American drug policy. Journalests are giving Romney a free pass on his association with Sembler. Why?

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