Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) Speaks on Medical Marijuana

Obama: When it comes to medical marijuana, I have more of a practical view than anything else. I mean, my attitude is that if it’s an issue of doctors prescribing medical marijuana as a treatment for glaucoma or as a cancer treatment, I think that should be appropriate because there really is no difference between that and a doctor prescribing morphine or anything else. I think there are legitimate concerns in not wanting to allow people to grow their own or start setting up mom and pop shops, because at that point it becomes fairly difficult to regulate. And again, I am not familiar with all the details of the initiative that was passed and what safeguards there were in place, but I think the basic concept that using medical marijuana in the same way with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors, I think that’s entirely appropriate.

Nelson: Federal law, of course, still considers it a controlled substance.

Obama: Right

Nelson: And there have been attempts from Washington to punish doctors

Obama: Yeah, I would not punish doctors if its prescribed in a way that is appropriate; that may require some changes in federal law. I will tell you that, I want to be honest with you whether I want to use a whole lot of political capital on that issue when we’re trying to get health care passed or end the war in iraq is … the likelihood of that being real high on my list is not likely.

Nelson: It’s safe to say you wouldn’t be …

Obama: What I’m not going to be doing is using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue. Simply because I want folks to be investigating violent crimes and potential terrorism. We’ve got a lot of things for our law enforcement officers to deal with.

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