Candidates Positions on Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Voting Guide

This voter guide provides information on the positions of all Democratic and Republican presidential candidates on medical marijuana access, collected during the primary phase of the campaign. Hear the candidates in their own words commenting on this topic.


“Yes! . . . But you know . . . [w]e have not devoted nearly enough science or time to deal with the pain management and chronic pain management that exists. There’s got to be a better answer than marijuana.” — U.S. Sen. Joe Biden (Del.), May 12, Canterbury, N.H.

“I want to leave states to decide what the right thing is to do on this.” — U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.), May 12, Merrimack, N.H.

“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.”
— Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), June 8, Derry, N.H.

“Compassion requires that doctors be able to prescribe whatever they need to make sure that patients get relief from pain.”
— U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), August 15, Manchester, N.H.

“I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It’s not a good use of our resources.”
— U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), August 21, Nashua, N.H.

“We must protect the seriously ill; we certainly must protect these people. . . . Yes, [I will end the federal raids], with the proper safeguards and protections.”
— New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, May 7, Hooksett, N.H.


“I think that should continue to be the case. I do not think that we should legalize marijuana … I don’t agree with that, and I don’t think we need to for pain or for pain medication.” — U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.), June 5, Manchester, N.H.

“The FDA says marijuana has no additive medical benefit of any kind, that the illegal trafficking of marijuana is so great that it makes much more sense to keep it illegal. I will keep it illegal.” — Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, August 17, Merrimack, N.H.

“I think I’d leave that to the DEA. Let me just be very blunt. I don’t support the idea. I think there are better ways to treat medical illnesses than the use of a drug that has really caused so many more people to have their lives injured than it has to necessarily have their lives helped.” — Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, June 4, Francestown, N.H.

“If you have a federal law, you have to enforce the law. And that’s my answer.” — U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.), June 5, Manchester, N.H.

“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 . . . I do not support the use of marijuana for medical purposes. I believe there are other ways of relieving that pain and suffering.” — U.S. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), August 11, Milton, N.H.

“I would like people who are dying with cancer and AIDS to have access to whatever they want and make their own choices, especially under a state law.” — U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), August 19, Londonderry, N.H.

“I don’t want medicinal marijuana; there are synthetic forms of marijuana that are available for people who need it for prescription. Don’t open the doorway to medicinal marijuana.“ — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, July 25, Bedford, N.H.

“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.” — U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.), August 19, Londonderry, N.H.

“You know, there are federal laws involved and there’s federalism issues also involved. It depends on a lot of different circumstances, and I just can’t give you a definitive answer to that right now.” — Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.), September 8, Stratham, N.H.