What Is It With the Young People and Their Compassion for Cancer and AIDS Patients?


While George W. Bush waited until he was elected president to renege on his promise to let states go their own way on medical marijuana, John McCain already has retreated from a similar federalist position. Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana, which tracks the statements of presidential contenders in this area, reports that McCain had this to say when he was asked at a July 14 town hall meeting in Claremont, New Hampshire, whether he would stop federal raids on people who grow or possess marijuana for medical use in states where such use is legal:

Not yet. I don't think marijuana is healthy, I don't think that it is good for people, and there is a large body of medical opinion that says there is plenty of other medications that are more effective and better and less damaging to one's health to use to relieve pain. So I will continue to look at it on your behalf and many other young people who feel very strongly about it, but right now my answer to you is no.

The day before, by contrast, Hillary Clinton had this exchange with medical marijuana activist Len Epstein in Manchester:

Epstein: Twelve states allow medical marijuana, but the Bush administration continues to raid patient.

Clinton: Yes, I know. It's terrible.

Epstein: Would you stop the federal raids?

Clinton: Yes, I will.

An appropriate follow-up question would have asked how Clinton felt when her husband pursued a policy similar to Bush's, refusing to accept state policy judgments regarding the medical use of cannabis. Still, good for Hillary Clinton, which is not something I get to say very often.

Meanwhile, Dale Gieringer of California NORML reports that the DEA office in Los Angeles has been sending letters to local landlords, warning them that they may lose their property to civil forfeiture and face criminal prosecution if they let their tenants provide marijuana to patients:

DEA sources say they sent 120 letters, of which only 20 or so have so far been reported to NORML. Included are numerous well regarded, established facilities with no known complaints. The action is aimed at coercing landlords to evict medical cannabis coops despite state law allowing them.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote soon on the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which tells the DEA to lay off state-authorized medical marijuana users and providers. Last year the amendment got 163 votes, 55 short of a majority. Assuming Democrats are more apt than Republicans to agree with Hillary Clinton on this subject (an assumption reinforced by McCain's flip-flop), Democratic control of the House bodes well for the measure.