News » 2012 Republican Presidential Candidates’ Position on Marijuana
August 25, 2011 by justin
In looking at the current field of Republican candidates for President, where do each of the stand on marijuana law reform. Not all have a published, official position, so we found what information we could on their statements and voting history for both medical marijuana and legalization legislation.
Here are the current front runners who have declared their candidacy for President: Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
Despite the recent surge of the Tea Party Conservatives, it is surprising to see the number of politicians who wish to continue to prohibit marijuana at the federal level.
Proponents of Marijuana Law Reform
Ron Paul is a strong supporter of the legalization of marijuana. True to his libertarian roots, he recently introduced legislation with Democrat Barney Frank to end the prohibition of marijuana at the federal level, leaving it to the states to decide.
Paul made his views clear in a 2007 debate with actor Stephen Baldwin on the issue of marijuana:
Opponents of Marijuana Law Reform
Bachmann does not have an official stance on marijuana legislation, however in 2007 she voted against House Amendment 674, State and Federal Medical Marijuana Law Enforcement and Implementation, which would have prevented funds in HR 3093: Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2008 from being used to block the medical marijuana programs of states that had legalized it.
Gingrich is a strong opponent of progressive marijuana legislation. As House Speaker in 1996, he introduced HR 4170, the Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996, which called for a life sentence or death penalty for anyone bringing more than 2 ounces of drugs into the country. He said that possession should be punished by community service 2 days a week and if the person misses a day they should go to prison for 5 years.
Perry went on the Daily Show and said “[If] you want to go somewhere where you can smoke medicinal weed, then you ought to be able to do that.”
It has been speculated that his views may be nothing more than political maneuvering however. In a 2009 press conference he expressed an opposite view.
Does he support legalizing marijuana: “No.”
Romney, who is an opponent of both medical marijuana legislation as well as legalization, believes that the push to legalize marijuana for medical use is an effort by a committed few to try and get marijuana out into the public and ultimately legalize it. He says that there are many synthetic forms of this drug that are legal and that can be used for people who need it, and reportedly turned his back on a patient who claimed that the synthetic marijuana did not help his illness.
Although Rick Santorum admits to using marijuana himself, he now supports increased criminal penalties for drug users. He does not feel that this position is hypocritical.
“Politicians who have stumbled personally, are capable of making values-based arguments. I don’t think that’s hypocritical,” he said.
Next: The Political Party Platforms for 2012 and Marijuana
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