Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)

In Short

The former governor of Massachusetts has stated publicly that he does not support ending the federal raids on state medical marijuana patients and caregivers.

What Former Gov. Romney Has Done:

Gov. Romney has neither cosponsored nor voted on any legislation specifically addressing medical marijuana.

What Former Gov. Romney Has Said:

During a town meeting in Laconia, New Hampshire, on May 29, 2007, GSMM staff asked the former governor if he would respect the will of voters and legislators in the 12 medical marijuana states and end the federal raids on patients and caregivers. He responded, “I don’t want marijuana to be used in our country. I’m not going to legalize marijuana.”

The questioner then clarified that he was asking about medical marijuana, not marijuana legalization, asking, “Can you articulate a benefit to arresting sick and dying people who use effective medicine?” Gov. Romney responded, “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. I’d like to develop a drug policy that is more effective than the one we have. I know a lot of people who work very hard to find a drug policy that will work for our nation. You know we are out in places like Colombia, we spend about $650 million of our money to help people in Colombia try to hold down the production of drug products for our nation and for other nations around the world. Somehow we got to convince the American people, young people in particular, to stay away from drugs, to help them understand the extraordinary scourge that drugs are. It is ruining lives. Drugs are ruining lives of our kids. And I don’t want to do anything that would encourage in any way, some people to get involved in illegal drugs. So, I recognize your concern, I share the concern, I want people to have comfort as they are ill, but I don’t want to do something that leads to anymore people becoming involved in drugs and having their lives ruined in that way. So, I’m open to looking for how we can do that better. I spoke with a great former secretary of state of our nation not long ago and he said, ‘you know, maybe we could do a better job marketing to our own people. We’re really good at selling Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola, and a lot of products in our country, maybe we can do a better job marketing to our own population about how they need to stay away from drugs, and then we can have further conversation about that topic.’ Thank you.”

A week later, at a town hall meeting in Manchester on June 6, 2007, Gov. Romney said, “You know, I haven’t looked at the experiences in those 12 states, and I don’t know what options there are for pain relief from medicinally supplied marijuana, meaning through chemical means, pills, or something of that nature. The concern, of course, is that marijuana has become the entry drug of choice and contributing a lot to the drug culture. That’s the concern. And that’s why, as the federal government, and I as a candidate, support keeping marijuana illegal, because I don’t want to encourage more involvement in or allow more people to get involved in the marijuana and the drug culture. But the needs of those with chronic pain, and determining ways to treat that pain through medicinal or chemical type of sources, which is something I have studied before. But I don’t anticipate that I’m going to be running on the platform of making marijuana legal or making medical marijuana legal. I will look at the issue, I haven’t got in place something on that point. I will inform myself on it, but I’m not going to promise you here that I’m going to change the federal law with regards to clamping down on the use of marijuana in our society for medical purposes. Sorry, I wish I had a better answer for you, but that’s where I am at this stage.”

During a July 25 town hall meeting in Bedford, he touched briefly on medical marijuana, saying, “People talk about medicinal marijuana. And you know, you hear that story that people who are sick need medicinal marijuana. But marijuana is the entry drug for people trying to get kids hooked on drugs. 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.”

After the July 25 event, GSMM volunteers, including a seriously ill patient in a wheelchair and a medical professional, approached Gov. Romney to ask a follow-up question. After Gov. Romney ignored the ill patient’s repeated attempts to ask him a question, a GSMM staffer asked him, “I was wondering why you don’t respect states’ rights when it concerns seriously ill patients who use medical marijuana in the 12 states that have approved its use. Why don’t you respect states’ rights in that situation, a life and death situation?” Gov. Romney responded, “Because synthetic marijuana is available by prescription. It’s very simple, very simple, very simple.”

When the medical professional introduced herself and explained that synthetic forms of marijuana are not effective for many patients, Gov. Romney disagreed, saying, “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.”

During a town hall event in Manchester on October 4, an audience member asked Gov. Romney, “If you become president and a state chooses to end marijuana prohibition during your term, how will you respond?” Gov. Romney answered, “I believe marijuana should be illegal in our country. It is the pathway to drug usage by our society, which is a great scourge — which is one of the great causes of crime in our cities. And I believe that we are at a state where, of course, we are very concerned about people who are suffering pain, and there are various means of providing pain management. And those that have had loved ones that have gone through an end of life with cancer know the nature of real pain. I watched my wife’s mom and dad, both in our home, both going through cancer treatment, suffering a great deal of pain. But they didn’t have marijuana, and they didn’t need marijuana because there were other sources of pain management that worked entirely effectively. I’m told there is even a synthetic marijuana as well that is available. But having legalized marijuana, in my view, is an effort by a very committed few to try and get marijuana out into the public and ultimately legalize marijuana. It’s a long way to go. We need less drugs in this society, not more drugs, and I would oppose the legalization of marijuana in the country or legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes because pain management is available from other sources.”

Two days later, at an October 6 campaign event in Dover, New Hampshire, GSMM volunteer and seriously ill resident Clayton Holton asked Gov. Romney: “I suffer from an extremely rare type of muscular dystrophy and I have to take medication or I’ll die. Now I weigh less then 80 pounds, I have all my life. I have the support of five of my doctors who say I am living proof that medical marijuana works. I am completely against legalizing if for everyone, but there is medical purposes for it.” Gov. Romney interrupted, “And you have synthetic marijuana that’s available and other pain medications.” Holton responded, “It makes me sick. I have tried it, and it makes me throw up. I have tried all of the medications there are and all of the forms that come in appetite stimulators or steroids. I have muscular dystrophy, that’s completely against my DNA. My question for you is, will you arrest me and my doctors if I get medical marijuana prescribed to me?” Gov. Romney then answered, “I’m not in favor of medical marijuana being legal in the country,” before turning his back to Clayton and walking away.

On October 25, during a campaign event at Elliot Hospital in Manchester, GSMM staff asked Gov. Romney: “I’m glad you said you like states being the laboratories of democracy. Voters and legislators in 12 states have passed laws protecting the seriously ill who use medical marijuana with their doctors’ approval and supervision. This has the support of 80% of the public, 74% of doctors, the American Nurses Association, the Institute of Medicine, the New England Journal of Medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the list goes on, sir, with medical support. In Nevada, you said that you would have these patients raided and arrested for using and prescribing this under these state laws.”

Gov. Romney interrupted, “No, I didn’t. It’s a good question, but you don’t need to misstate what I said.” Our staffer continued, “You were asked if you would continue or end the federal raids. You said that you would continue the raids on patients. That was in Nevada at the Conservative Forum.”

Gov. Romney interrupted again, saying: “Nope, you know what I said was I’d continue to enforce the law as it is, and in my view the law ought to be that medical marijuana is illegal. Marijuana is the gateway to illegal drug use in this country. Drug use is a plague on American society; I want to eliminate it, I do not want to expand it … The health care professionals in this room will tell you that there are synthetic ways of providing the pain relief associated with marijuana and we do not have to have marijuana being prescribed and we all know how that can be abused … As a result, I’m not in favor of medical marijuana being prescribed, I think that’s the wrong course. I want to fight every way I can against illegal drug use in this country, and in my view expanding marijuana is not the right way to go for America.”

The GSMM staffer followed up, “May I politely ask you then, sir, will you continue the federal raids on medical marijuana patients?”

Gov. Romney responded: “I don’t do any particular raids, but we’ll follow the law. And I, I’m not familiar with what they’re doing in Nevada, personally, I’m in Massachusetts, all right, that was where I was governor and I believe in following the law and I also believe that medical marijuana is, if you will, a Trojan Horse for bringing marijuana into our society and I think that’s the wrong way to go. I think the far better way to go is to treat people with other medications that are available, and synthetic marijuana that provides the same pain relief that can be received by, uh, by marijuana.”

Gov. Romney will raid medical marijuana patients–Oct. 25

Later the same afternoon (on October 25), seriously ill resident and GSMM volunteer Clayton Holton confronted Gov. Romney for a second time, while at an Exeter town hall event, saying: “The last time I met you I asked you if you would have me arrested for using medical marijuana to relieve my pain and suffering. Instead of giving me an answer, you turned your back to me and walked away. It’s something that CNN caught all over their cameras. Would you please give me an answer?”

Gov. Romney responded, “I don’t do any arresting. In my view, marijuana should not be made legal either for medicinal purposes or recreational purposes. It’s the opening way to drug use for many, many people in our country and I’m opposed to medical marijuana. Next question.”

Clayton followed up his question, asking, “What about states’ rights?” Governor Romney ignored Clayton again and quickly moved on to the next questioner.

Gov. Romney meets medical marijuana patient again-Oct. 25

On October 29, during an “Ask Mitt Anything” event in Manchester, GSMM intern Jon Perri asked Gov. Romney, “Currently doctors can prescribe cocaine, amphetamines, and opiates. In fact, right now the leading prescribed painkillers, OxyContin and Vicodin, have resulted in thousands of American deaths. Since 1995, there have been 12 states that have passed legislation—”

Gov. Romney interrupted, “To legalize marijuana?!”

Jon continued, “to recommend that patients be able to use medical marijuana, which has killed no one. And the Government Accountability Office has reported that in the 12 states there neither been an increase in teen use or abuse. Recently you told a sick Dover man that you would continue the federal raids on patients and doctors in those states.”

Gov. Romney interrupted Jon with, “No, I didn’t, actually. For those who are not familiar, this is a question at each one of our town meetings. But go ahead and ask the question and I’ll give you the same answer.”

Jon finished his question: “My question for you is how can you justify your position that we should continue the federal raids on patients and doctors? And have you received any contributions from pharmaceutical companies?”

Gov. Romney answered, “No. It’s against the law to receive contributions from corporations. Number two, I am not in favor of having marijuana become legalized in this country for medicinal purposes or … What’s interesting is — it’s a wonderful process we have — at each one of our town meetings, there’s someone here who represents legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. And you keep asking the question and I keep giving you the same answer. I’m not sure what the purpose is but I have the same position this week that I had last week when you asked the question, and that is, I would not legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes and the reasons are straightforward. As I talk to people in my state, and at the federal government level about marijuana and its role in society, they are convinced that the entry-way into a drug culture for our young people is marijuana. Marijuana is the starter drug, and the idea of medical marijuana is designed to help get marijuana out into the public market place and ultimately lead to legalization of marijuana overall. And in my view, that’s the wrong way to go. And I know other people have differing views, and if you’d like to get somebody who’s in favor of marijuana, I know there are some on the Democratic side of the aisle that would be happy to get in your campaign, but I’m opposed to it. And if you elect me president, you’re not going to see legalized marijuana. I’m going to fight it tooth and nail.”

Gov. Romney hates being asked about medical marijuana-Oct 29

Former Gov. Mitt Romney on Oct. 4, 2007

Former Gov. Mitt Romney on Oct. 6, 2007

Former Gov. Mitt Romney on Oct. 7, 2007

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