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Ask the Republican Candidates Where They Stand on Cannabis Reform

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director September 12, 2011

    Google and Fox News will host a debate between Republican primary candidates in Orlando on September 22nd. Similar to the “social media townhalls” President Obama has previously hosted, this debate will consist exclusively of questions submitted by the public. This forum provides advocates with a unique opportunity to put these presidential hopefuls on record regarding their position on marijuana law reform.

    NORML has submitted a question for consideration:

    “As president, would you stand up for states’ rights by ending federal marijuana prohibition and allow them to experiment with models of decriminalization and legalization without federal interference?”

    Here is how you can voice your support and promote this question:

    Step 1: Go to Fox News’ Youtube page here.

    Step 2: Click the “Vote” tab at the top of the page.

    Step 3: In the topics box, select “Social Issues”

    Step 4: Click “Video Questions.”

    Step 5: You should see our video question towards the top of the list, look for the NORML logo in the thumbnail. Click the thumbs up icon next to the question.

    The current line up of candidates have gone to great lengths to distance themselves from the current policies of President Obama, yet most have remained silent on the topic of marijuana law reform (that is, of course, excluding Ron Paul). Take a moment of your time to vote up our question, if these candidates want your vote, don’t you deserve to know where they stand on cannabis?

    70 Responses to “Ask the Republican Candidates Where They Stand on Cannabis Reform”

    1. tbill says:

      I am another supporter of Norml who is “put off” by the editors comments. If ever there was a time where a longshot candidate like Ron Paul could emerge, it is this election. Let’s face it… There are no viable candidates out there who support MJ reform. IMHO, the editor should support the only candidate who you know would do what he says concerning MJ

      [Editor’s note: Would you be put off if NORML started to hype Bullwinkle the Moose or Mickey Mouse for president? Because these characters have as much chance as the current political character ‘Ron Paul’ to become the GOP nominee and/or win the general election.

      There are other GOP candidates who support cannabis law reform beyond Paul….Gary Johnson….but, he, like Paul, are not viable presidential candidates according to all available indexes.

      Can we get real here and stop the political fantasizing?]

    2. Jason Karimi says:

      Replying to the Editor’s note about Ron Paul:

      I agree that Ron Paul has no shot in winning the 2012 race. I say this as a Ron Paul supporter.

      Here’s another reality check I wish to see NORML share with it’s readers: the DEA is not responsible for marijuana being in Schedule I. The DHHS is. The DEA is the enforcement; DHHS are the scientific experts.

      Blaming the DEA for Schedule I is a copout. The DHHS recommended in 2006 to NOT reschedule marijuana. Since then, new science has emerged. The only thing the DEA is doing wrong (regarding the Coalition’s case) is failing to ask for an updated, current scientific review of marijuana’s medical value from the Department of Health and Human Services.

      Please remind uninformed commenters and readers of this reality check. Thank you!

      [Editor’s note: Sure enough! Indeed, DHHS (along with DOJ’s DEA) is empowered under CSA to impact a drug like cannabis’ legal status and classification. It behooves reformers’ efforts to also direct their advocacy for cannabis legalization to the ‘health’ (HHS, NIDA) side along with the more visible and oppositional ‘legal’ (DEA, ONDCP) side of the equation.]

    3. Tom says:

      I voted last night and returned to the link tonight to find the question has again disappeared! What is going on?!

      Politically speaking, I am a moderate. I live in Massachusetts. I voted for President Obama (D) in 2008 and I voted for Senator Scott Brown (R) in 2010. If Fox News refuses to present this question at the debate, I will no longer watch Fox News.

      As of last night, when I voted, the vote count was 131. There appears to be conflicting reports on the vote count, as it appears to have decreased this morning when the question was again temporarily available.

      To Fox News: CNN presented the Cannabis question to then Senator Obama in the Youtube debate in 2008. As a moderate and a supporter of reform regarding the current federal laws surrounding Cannabis, I strongly urge Fox News to present this question at the Fox News Google Debate.

    4. Owen says:

      UPDATE ON FOX YOUTUBE POLL:

      Now they won’t post ANY OF MY QUESTIONS.

      This was the latest rejection:

      “House Speaker John Boehner, a drug addict, is against the legalization of marijuana. I thought drug addicts were a detriment to society. As House Speaker, he has been a detriment to the country. Why do we allow drug addicts to become House Speaker?”

    5. B says:

      So if watching violence on TV doesn’t promote violence, then why can’t we allow the display of cannabis consumption or penis and breasts? It’s OK to watch someone get murdered (which isn’t typically accepted by society, except in self-defense which effectively decriminalizes murder), but if we someone pop out boobs (which we’re encouraged to do by our biological nature) should be…of all things…CENSORED in AMERICA? Fucked up.

    6. Tom, I think you are onto something. I can’t find the video currently myself. And if you go to the direct link to it we had used on our facebook recently (http://yt-debates.appspot.com/question/5426804) and the video and question no longer show up…

    7. brian says:

      Asking most of these guys where they stand on this issue is dangerous ground. First off everyone already knows, second most of the responses will be negative, but will receive many cheers from the conservative audience, which I believe will strengthen support against any kind of legalization, and hurt the two candidates that support it. I can just imagine the millions of shaking heads at home viewing wondering why they even asked that stupid question. Not the right place to pick a fight.

    8. Marvin says:

      The fact that cannabis questions are either gone or have a ridiculously low vote count (barely above that of 3 days ago) says to me that this whole thing is fake, rigged. I bet there will be exactly zero questions regarding cannabis asked. I will be disgusted, but not surprised at all.

    9. Mrsmac says:

      I just voted and there are 647 for. I see VOTE RON PAUL! on all the blogs, I watched him in the R’s debate, and he doesn’t have what it takes. They are all politicians first and none of them are going to break ranks on this issue. If the guy we voted for isn’t going to make the change, none of the current crop of wannabes is going to break ranks. Perry is scary.

    10. Longtime Puffer says:

      Although I understand the sentiments of all the Ron Paul supporters who are “put off” by the editors’ comments, I also understand the editors’ responses. I believe Mr. Paul is a genuinely nice human being. However, aside from also believing he has a snowball’s chance of winning, I, for one, am completely “put off” by most of his other views.

      Although he has rarely voiced it lately (doesn’t want the light shining on him too brightly apparently) he seems to advocate a return to discrimination–racial, religious and otherwise–as long as it’s PRIVATE businesses doing the discriminating. He’s mentioned (like his son) that he’s against GOVERNMENT discrimination–can’t have GOVERNMENT discriminating– but has no problem allowing private businesses to refuse to serve someone based on race, creed, color, religion or whatever other criteria. (Is that the “freedom” we always hear about in America?)

      We already fought the civil rights battles in the ’60s and ’70s, and finally joined most of the civilized world in ending many forms of discrimination. I don’t want to go back to those bad old days. If we ever do return to apartheid, we’ll just be fighting that fight again and again and again. Is that the sort of country you REALLY want to live in?

      BTW,for those who think it’s no big deal to be refused service–and the people who usually do the refusing rarely give a reason, but instead quickly threaten to call the police–never forget, history has a way of changing, and one day it just might be YOU who is the one being refused.

      Like eating out at that Chinese restaurant? You see a black couple sitting over there; and over there is a hispanic family. But when you walk up to the counter, the man says, “Sir, you have to leave!”

      You look around in confusion. “Why?”

      “Sir, leave, or I’ll call the police!”

      That’s the way it usually goes.

      In short, I would never vote for a Mussolini just to have the “trains running on time.” It’s a case of the cure being worse than the disease.

    11. KevStr says:

      Okay, I just searched and could not find your question anywhere in “Social Issues” category! This is B.S.

      Also, to the Editor, you are way off base about Ron Paul. He is electable, his popularity is growing every day and although he has not received alot of votes in the past, a large part of the independent/Republican base are starting to agree with his ideas now about limiting the Federal government. Furthermore, unless you want to be saying, “President Perry” after the 2012 election you should change your tune. Obama is a fake and a liar. Even the most liberal of my friends are registering to vote in the Republican primaries for Ron Paul to ensure he is the (R) running against Obama. Peace!

      [Editor’s note: NORML is both a long term supporter of Rep. Paul and is a non-partisan organization. Analytically speaking, Ron Paul is both too old and too unelectable to win either the GOP nomination or in a general election against a sitting president. Historically, members of the House don’t get elected president and theirs are usually vanity campaigns to draw attention to themselves and the issues they care about.

      While it does not appear that either Paul or Johnson are getting much traction in the GOP race to date, it behooves cannabis law reform efforts that libertarian-leaning candidates like Paul and Johnson are pursuing the GOP nomination.]

    12. Dr. Greensleeves says:

      Linking this article to a Fox News related YouTube site is both insulting to the intelligence of the people here and a slap in the face towards our goal. How can you be unbiased about this issue when Fox is consistently one-sided? And it’s not OUR side either. This is rather embarrassing. Imo, Fox “Views” and NORML shouldn’t even be used in the same context as one another.

    13. Amanda says:

      Although I am very happy to see prospective presidential candidates supporting our cause it is quite obvious that they are using Marijuana prohibition as a way to get single issue voters to vote for them.

      I Support their cause in marijuana reform but let us all realize that this is not the only issue that is important in a candidate.

      Questions should ask about their support of the HR2306 bill.

    14. stoneman says:

      Its one day before this debate and all the marijuana related questions are gone from the list for voting? Someone tell me why? A week ago there were several marijuana law reform questions and now none. How corupt are these people, NORML come on cant we do something?

    15. mark says:

      I recieved my Congressional reps response, for him to support decriminilization. Dr Tom Price informed me, that he works for all people interests in his district.

      I guess the folks of atlanta don’t smoke pot or do any of the other items that trans-ship through atlanta. We are one of the leaders in narco trafficing. Thus, the K-9 units stationed in and out of the metero area along the interstates.

    16. Robert says:

      Gary Johnson and Ron Paul are your the only guys you should consider if this is issue as important as I think it is. And remember, when Gary Johnson ran for governor of NM, noone gave him an ice cube’s chance in hell of winning. Watch the debate tonight, he is finally back in. It will be nice to have two pro-cannabis candidates on stage at the same time.
      As for Obama? Fuhgedaboutit. He has shown himself to be a total hypocrite.

    17. Owen says:

      As expected, the fix was in. No questions about pot.

    18. Marvin says:

      I watched about 3/4 of the debate. Saw no cannabis related questions and assume none were asked at all. Disgusted but not surprised at all.

    19. Bongstar420 says:

      The editor is right…End of story guys and gals. Reality is what it is. I commend NORML for their blog policies as it is better to throw in those editor’s notes then deleting off topic comments like “Vote for my candidate” which always includes much more than ending Cannabis prohibition. Period

    20. kathryn says:

      I sent one of the HB Petition to my state Rep. Chaffetz, in Utah. He sent me an email back that said marijuana has no know medical uses and therefor would not support any changes in law….go figure. You can bet Huntsman and Romney think the same.

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