This is a preview from the just-released Cannabis Culture Magazine issue #68. The article “Your Next President on Drugs” assesses the US 2008 presidential candidates, both Democrats and Republicans. This early sneak peek online includes 17 video statements by each of the candidates on the topic of marijuana policies, and whether American citizens should continue to be arrested and imprisoned for pot. Find out where your favorite candidate stands when it comes to cannabis!
This is Your Next President On Drugs
Voting matters. The US Presidential election is on November 4, 2008. There will be a Democratic candidate, a Republican candidate, and perhaps others, but essentially the next President will be either a Republican or a Democrat. To sort out who will be those candidates, all 50 states have a weeding out process called the primaries. Each state holds a vote where the voter – that’s YOU – chooses whom among all the possible Democratic or Republican Presidential candidates gets your endorsement.
The top one or two vote getters in each state’s primary get to have “delegates” attend a big Presidential Nomination Convention in late summer, where 2,439 delegates select a winner by a series of ballots until one candidate gets 1,220 votes or more, or a majority. The primary voting is held as early as January in New Hampshire, Iowa, Florida, South Carolina and Nevada. Fifteen states hold their primary vote on what is called Super Tuesday, February 5, including influential states like California and New York. Twenty-five states hold their primary between February 9 and June 3, 2008.
You must register to vote and you may have to affiliate with either the Republican Party in order to vote in the Republican primary, or affiliate Democratic to vote in the Democratic Party primary. A very easy way to do this is to visit www.rockthevote.com and type in your information. Some states have an open primary, which means you don’t have to affiliate with any party to get a party ballot and vote. Find out what is required where you live!
There is one outstanding Republican and two excellent Democratic candidates that we believe are worth voting for.
In our opinion, Republican Ron Paul is the best Presidential candidate to emerge from either party in 50 years. If George Bush has you rightly disgusted for his drug war, his Iraq War, for letting neo-cons usurp the US government, then Ron Paul is the anti-Bush. Ron Paul has been a Congressman for 20 years, and votes on every occasion with 100 percent consistency against the drug war, against the drug czar’s office, and in favor of medical marijuana; he’s also chief sponsor of the 2007 Industrial Hemp Act. Ron Paul is the only one of all the Republican Presidential candidates to continually oppose the Iraq War in Congress, since before the first vote in 2002. Ron Paul voted against The Patriot Act, and against regulating the Internet.
Ron Paul believes this: “While recognizing the harm that drug abuse causes society, we also recognize that government drug policy has been ineffective and has led to frightening abuses of the Bill of Rights which could affect the personal freedom of any American. We, therefore, support alternatives to the War on Drugs. Per the tenth amendment to the US Constitution: matters such as drugs should be handled at the state or personal level. All laws, which give license to violate the Bill of Rights, should be repealed.” (Republican Liberty Caucus Position Statement 00-RLC13 on Dec. 8, 2000.)
Ron Paul promised in the Detroit Free Press on September 21, 2007 that he would pardon non-violent drug offenders, also saying “mandated life sentences are insane. I’d release them. I’d pardon them.” As I wrote in the Letter From the Editor of CC number 66, I believe Ron Paul would have his Attorney General rescind the extradition request for myself, Michelle Rainey, and Greg Williams. Ron Paul – whom the mainstream media has, until recently, largely ignored – is the true Champion of the Constitution. He is the number 1 defender of your civil liberties in the US Congress. You can see many outstanding speeches and debates with Ron Paul at Youtube.com. Google Ron Paul and listen to or read any of his major speeches; you will be amazed.
This is a video of Ron Paul confirming his support of medical marijuana:
Here Ron Paul says on a TV debate that he would REPEAL THE ENTIRE FEDERAL WAR ON DRUGS:
Find out what Ron Paul is about 24 hours a day by listening to www.ronpaulradio.com. My wife and I have a show on Ron Paul radio, the most recent episode called “A Ron Paul Presidency and Prohibition”. If, after investigating Ron Paul yourself, you are convinced to support him in your state primary, you must affiliate Republican on your voter registration form available at www.rockthevote.com.
There are two candidates in the Democratic Party who have very positive cannabis reform platforms. In our opinion, the best Democratic candidate is US Congressman Dennis Kucinich (pronounced Koo-SIN-ich). In a survey of 435 Congressmen in the US House of Representatives done in CC number 62 in September 2006, US Rep Kucinich was rated number 3rd best Congressman in the entire 435 member House of Representatives based on his voting record on issues of the drug war, Iraq war, the war on terror and civil liberties. (The Number 1 Congressman in the CC survey was Ron Paul! US Rep Barney Frank was number 2.)
Dennis Kucinich as Presidential candidate has called for an end to jail for marijuana possession and distribution. His voting record is excellent: voted NO on military border patrols to battle drugs and terrorism; NO on prohibiting needle exchange and medical marijuana in DC; NO on subjecting federal employees to random drug tests; was rated A by Vote Hemp, indicating a pro-hemp voting record; is sponsor of the 2007 Industrial Hemp Act; and consistently voted in favor of the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which would bar the DEA from spending any money to raid or arrest medical marijuana patients and caregivers in the states that allow the medical use of marijuana.
In 2007, Kucinich voted in favor of the Hinchey amendment for the fifth year in a row; voted No to the Iraq War from inception; voted No to Plan Colombia; voted No to the Patriot Act; and voted No to Homeland Security. Dennis Kucinich is the only one of all the Democratic Presidential candidates to oppose the Iraq War in Congress from the first vote in 2002.
Here, Dennis Kucinich reiterates his support for medical marijuana on the campaign trail in New Hampshire:
Mike Gravel, a former senator from Alaska (1969-1981) is a candidate who wants to legalize possession of marijuana, decriminalize hard drugs and treat addiction, and end the Iraq War immediately. Gravel was a maverick Senator in his 12 years, introducing the Pentagon Papers into the public record and filibustering against funding the Vietnam War in 1973. Gravel has no voting record to back up his current-day rhetoric though, having been out of public office for 26 years, so I recommend Kucinich or Paul.
However, Gravel says it so well, I still love this guy. Here he is in New Hampshire saying it all in under a minute:
Democratic Candidates On Drugs
A Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) group called Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana (GSMM) has been in New Hampshire during this year grilling all Presidential candidates who come campaigning. They record all speeches and always get close enough to ask each candidate where they stand on DEA raids of medical users and what they would do as President. Senators Joe Biden, Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama, Chris Dodd, and John Edwards all claim they would end the raids on medical patients in med-pot states, but I am unconvinced. All five voted for the Iraq War in 2002, or in Obama’s case (because he was elected to the Senate in 2004) voted to fund the war without interruption, yet all five now claim to be against the war!
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson also supported the Iraq War in 2002. However, in 2007 Richardson did do excellent work securing passage of a New Mexico state medical marijuana law. Following a DEA raid on New Mexico med-pot patient Leonard French shortly after the law passed, Richardson challenged President Bush in a televised war of words. “We’re going to fight the Bush people. This is a matter of state sovereignty.”
The Governor explains his position clearly here, and it?s said plainly and clearly. The audio starts at 20 seconds with the question about medical marijuana:
Yet Richardson, Obama, Clinton, Edwards, Dodd and Biden all favor keeping non-medical marijuana use criminal, and all five Senators voted to authorize The Patriot Act. According to Governor Bill Richardson’s 2002 Priorities article on his campaign website, “My philosophy towards drug use is not legalization, but recognition of the dangerous, insidious role drugs play in crime in New Mexico,” though he also told GSMM on July 26 and September 2nd “the drug war is a failure”.
From Joe Biden‘s website Biden.senate.gov: “Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. is a leader in Congress on combating drug use and stopping the flow of drugs from reaching our shores. In an effort to curb drug use, Senator Biden wrote the law creating the nation’s “Drug Czar” who oversees and coordinates national drug control policy. To further ‘protect’ our kids from the scourge of drugs, Senator Biden wrote the law that triples penalties for criminals who use kids to sell drugs, toughens penalties for selling drugs near playgrounds and schools, and increases penalties for drug use and drug trafficking in prisons. It also provides millions of dollars to give law enforcement officials the resources they need to combat drug use in communities nationwide, particularly methamphetamine and Ecstasy.”
Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, a fellow with a great record on civil liberties is still opposed to a general legalization of marijuana, explains his med-pot position in New Hampshire on May 12:
Hillary Clinton‘s husband, Bill Clinton, was the US president who oversaw marijuana arrests go from 380,689 in 1993 to 734,498 in 2000, the last year of Bill’s presidency. In Hillary Clinton’s seven years as Senator from New York State, she never once criticized the federal drug war or the New York State Rockefeller laws (mandating extremely long jail sentences for small time distribution). She only recently agreed she would stop federal raids on medical patients as president, but has no credibility on the drug war or the Iraq War – she votes for both.
She is the consummate politician and here?s her sleazy dodge on the question of raiding med-pot patients. It was videotaped November 1st in New Hampshire:
During a June 8, 2007, town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, Senator John Edwards said: “What I will do as president is, we will not be going in and raiding the use of marijuana for medical purposes in states that have legalized it. I think where democracy has worked, where voters have decided this should be legalized, I will not as president go in and run contrary to the will of the people in those states where it has been legalized. These raids that are being done against patients, I will not do this as president of the United States and would put a stop to it. I really think that we need to put the FDA in charge of this.” This is a switch from his position four years ago, when he stated that it would be “irresponsible” to end DEA raids on the ill. Edwards admitted smoking marijuana in university at a Rock The Vote debate in 2003.
Here is Edwards on September 2nd saying he would put a stop to DEA raids on med-pot dispensaries:
Senator Barack Obama has also smoked pot and calls it a mistake but doesn’t regret it. He has consistently voted to fund the Iraq War, but says he’s against it. On August 21, during a campaign event in Nashua, New Hampshire, Sen. Obama was asked by GSMM volunteer and seriously ill Nashua resident Scott Turner if he would end the federal raids on medical marijuana patients like him. Sen. Obama replied, “I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It’s not a good use of our resources.” But America’s great black hope is short on substance in every department. Obama has no plans to alter the drug war and his lukewarm rhetoric on medical cannabis patients is an untrustworthy committal. “Not good use of resources” is the lamest of all explanations for opposing a policy.
Here is his rather uninspired remark from August 21st:
Republicans Candidates On Drugs
Senator Sam Brownback, former Governor Mike Huckabee, and US Representative Tom Tancredo all reject evolution science and believe the world was created 6,000 years ago. This discredits their understanding of astronomy, geology (and thus oil), anthropology, and so much more.
Representative Tom Tancredo, however, is a friend of the cannabis culture in one important way: the US Rep from Colorado believes medical marijuana policy is a state’s right prerogative under the Constitution (he’s right), and has voted for the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment for five years in a row along with Kucinich and Paul. On August 18, in Concord, New Hampshire, a GSMM staffer thanked Rep. Tancredo for consistently voting in favor of ending the federal raids on medical marijuana patients and asked if he would end the federal raids if elected. Rep. Tancredo replied, “Absolutely. This has nothing to do with the federal government. It has absolutely no role in this… it should be left to the states and to the people. To the extent that this experiment goes on throughout the country, I’m all for it. I mean that’s exactly what the states are designed for, labs of democracy… it’s a big issue with me and I have voted for the amendment every time it has come up. It’s not about marijuana; it’s about states’ rights. The federal government has no right to interfere when a state makes that kind of decision… the federal government should stay the hell out of it.”
Here is Tom Tancredo on med-pot, there is campaign noise but you can verify his position. Tancredo is not running for Congress again and will be running for Governor of Colorado in 2010, and I’m very enthusiastic about Tancredo as Governor of the Rocky Mountain State:
Alas, Tancredo also promised in a June, 2007 television debate to bomb several Islamic holy cities if another terrorist attack happens on American soil, which is so off-the-wall and sure to cause a worldwide holocaust that one would be insane to vote for Tom Tancredo for President. But Tancredo for Governor, that I will get behind.
Sam Brownback voted to increase penalties for drug offences in 1999, voted for the Iraq War in 2002, voted for The Patriot Act, and still supports the Iraq War. When asked by Granite Staters, Brownback replied, “I do not think that we should legalize marijuana, and I don’t think we need to legalize marijuana. I don’t agree with that and I don’t think we need to for pain or for pain medication. I do not support decriminalization of marijuana for medical use or for any other use.” Brownback is awful, and in mid-October, pulled himself out of the race.
Mike Huckabee supports the Iraq War, the death penalty, and incarceration for drugs but gets away with painting himself as a compassionate conservative. Here’s his convoluted thinking from his book Character Makes a Difference, pages 172-173: “How can we change a drug-addicted culture? Do we say, ‘If these people weren’t poor, or if they only knew what drugs did, then they wouldn’t be doing this’? If so, you’d prepare a bunch of informational videos and explain the danger. And in fact, that is just what much of government has been doing. And has it worked? No. Will it ever work? No. Why not? Because taking drugs appeals to the self-centered, pleasure-seeking people we are by nature. If we’re convinced of that selfish nature, we take a different tack: ‘If you use drugs, we’re going to put you in jail and confiscate your car.’ We must come to see that our core problem is not a lack of education but a lack of righteousness. We don’t need more information as much as we need new hearts.”
Huckabee is a heartless bastard looking to tell US we need new hearts! Hah!
In New York City during Mayor David Dinkins’ last year in office (1993) there were 9,000 arrests for possession and sales of marijuana. After Rudolph Giuliani was elected Mayor, arrest numbers in his eight-year term of office rocketed upwards: 10,000 (1994), 12,000 (1995), 18,000 (1996), 29,000 (1997), 44,000 (1998), 45,000 (1999), 63,000 (2000), and 48,000 (2001). “Giuliani Time” indeed! What does cannabis culture hater Giuliani say now? “I’m very opposed to any form of legalizing marijuana; I think it’s a mistake. I know a lot about this particular area for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is as a prosecutor for more of my life then anything else. You can accomplish everything that you want to accomplish with things other than marijuana, probably better. Meaning, there are pain medications much superior to marijuana. And, marijuana is a very dangerous substance. We’d be much better off telling people the truth; marijuana adds nothing to the array of legal medications and prescription medications that are available for pain relief. And marijuana is a very serious and addictive drug that particularly harms lots and lots of young people. And we should keep it illegal, and I will keep it illegal.” If Giuliani becomes President, be very afraid. He wants global war against Islam, a global war against cannabis, and a permanent police state of terror in America.
Giuliani is an authoritarian bully. Here he explains that he will not support medical marijuana access and gets a thin applause:
US Representative Duncan Hunter is wrong on everything. Hunter voted YES on military border patrols to battle drugs and terrorism, on prohibiting a needle exchange and medical marijuana in DC, on subjecting federal employees to random drug tests, on war in Iraq, on making the Patriot Act permanent, on the Drug Czar’s budget, and on Plan Colombia. In 2007, Rep. Hunter voted against the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which would have ended the federal government’s raids on patients and caregivers participating in state-approved medical marijuana programs. Rep. Hunter has not supported this legislation in any of the five years it has been voted on. On June 5, 2007, in Manchester, New Hampshire, staff and volunteers from GSMM asked Rep. Hunter if he would end the federal raids on his own constituents. He responded, “I remember, when I was on the select committee on narcotics, everybody who was a heroin addict had first been a marijuana addict, and I would be very careful about pulling back from the outlawing of marijuana. I know many have advocated it, and I’ve seen the people who weigh 65 pounds as they die, totally addicted to heroin, who started on marijuana. So my answer is, I would not legalize marijuana.”
Senator John McCain has expressed the most hawkish positions on drug policy. He wants to increase penalties for selling drugs, supports the death penalty for drug kingpins, and favors tightening security to stop the flow of drugs into the country. McCain has a zero-percent rating from the American Civil Liberties Union, the worst rating (tied with Sam Brownback) of any candidate running for President. McCain voted for the Iraq war and still loves the war. When Sen. McCain gave his official campaign announcement speech on April 25, 2007, at Veteran’s Park in Manchester, New Hampshire, GSMM asked if he would end the federal raids on medical marijuana patients. Sen. McCain answered, “I will let states decide that issue.” But he later contradicted that position, on August 11, at a house party in Milton, New Hampshire: “I believe that marijuana is a gateway drug. That is my view and that?s the view of the federal drug czar and other experts, although that is also a debatable question. I think that there is much more effective ways of relieving pain and suffering than the use of marijuana, and so therefore I view it as something that I do not support. It’s interesting to me how this issue comes up at every town hall meeting …. I’ll be glad to get your statistics, but my position is I do not support the use of marijuana for medical purposes.”
In this video, McCain shows how unaware he is on the subject of Medical Marijuana:
Former Governor Mitt Romney, during a town meeting in Laconia, New Hampshire, on May 29, 2007, said, “I don’t want marijuana to be used in our country. I’m not going to legalize marijuana. I’m not talking about arresting sick and dying people, but I am talking about keeping marijuana from being a product on the street and being misused. The drug czar of our nation says it is the gateway drug for people becoming involved with drugs and drugs are a scourge of this country.” Later on August 25, Romney added, “I have spoken with doctors and researchers, and the medical marijuana effort is an effort to try and legalize marijuana in this country, and it’s a mistake in my opinion to go in the direction of opening up the nation to medical marijuana. The scourge of drugs has a huge cost on our society and our children. I am not in favor of medical marijuana. Other pain relievers are available in this country and I support the use of those other pain relievers. And synthetic marijuana, with the elements that are essential, is available.”
A video of Mitt Romney being absolutely heartless to a New Hampshire medical marijuana patient (even filmed by CNN) can be seen here:
When in the US Senate, Former Senator Fred Thompson voted to increase penalties for all drugs in 1999 and voted for the Iraq War in 2002. He left after that year to do TV (Law & Order). After declaring his candidacy for president, Thompson was asked by GSMM on September 9, during a town hall event in Nashua, NH, if he would respect states’ rights and end the federal raids on medical marijuana patients. Sen. Thompson answered, “Well, you’ve got federal drug laws. We have federal drugs laws in this country that are involved.” Interpret that as a no.
Here Fred Thompson looks uninspiring and vacillating:
Take part in your elections- it’s your duty as an American citizen! Never forget that on voting day, the people do have real power in their hands!