CHARLOTTE - He doesn't support legalizing marijuana, but former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis is open to medical marijuana. He's pretty excited about the direction California is headed in, too.
In an interview with Reason and other press members, Dukakis was baffled by the Obama administration's drug policy, particularly its handling of medical marijuana dispensaries.
"I don't understand what the hell is going on out there. We have a federal law that says that if you have a substance that is or could be addicting but may have medical value you do clinical trials," said Dukakis, who was defeated by George H.W. Bush in the 1988 presidential race. "You determine first and foremost if it does have medical value; and if that's the case doctors, nurses and other authorized medical professionals can prescribe it. But we've never done that with marijuana."
Dukakis thinks Obama should have acted immediately after he took office to sort out the patchwork of state regulations.
"What I don't understand is why the administration didn't move immediately to change that classification, get clinical trials going, and tell us definitely does it have medical value. Instead you have 12 states, 14 states, 16 states legislating in violation of federal law," he said.
Dukakis snickered about federal raids on dispensaries in Los Angeles and around the UCLA campus.
"When I left UCLA there were thousands of so-called dispensaries in Los Angeles, give me a break. These were not dispensaries," he said.
California may have its problems with medical marijuana and, well, money but Dukakis likes what he is seeing in the state.
"I like what's happening in California politically," he said. "I wish somehow that great state could deal with its fiscal problems, beause it's a great place with great people."