Name: Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL)
In short: Graham opposed federal legislation legalizing medical marijuana and would not have stopped the current administration’s policy of arresting and jailing seriously ill patients and their caregivers.
What Graham has done: Graham has not taken any action to protect medical marijuana patients. He has neither cosponsored nor voted on any legislation specifically addressing medical marijuana.*
What Graham has said: On Monday, October 6, Graham withdrew his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, saying on CNN’s Larry King Live, “I have made the judgment that I cannot be elected president of the United States.”
Questioned on New Hampshire Public Radio on August 18, 2003 by GSMM, Graham said, “There are several things I intend to do shortly after I take the oath of office … give me a few more hours before I get around to that specific DEA issue.” Responding to a follow up question, Graham continued “I don’t think the scientific evidence is there today to justify it [medical uses of marijuana], plus the fact I think it would be very difficult to enforce your drug laws if you had such a big exception to them.”
Responding to a question from Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana at a July 3, 2003 campaign stop, Graham said, “If a state, like Oregon, has said that this, their judgment, is appropriate…although I would disagree with it, I would defer to the state judgment.” When Graham announced his presidential candidacy in February 2003, ABCNews.com reported, “Graham does not support legalizing marijuana. His spokeswoman said…Graham ‘generally disfavors’ federal pre-emption of state law.” (View the full article here.)
In a lengthy letter to a constituent in January 1999, Graham wrote, “We must continue to evaluate all possible effects” of “legalization of marijuana for medicinal use.” Graham went on to cite many of the standard arguments used by opponents, stating, for example, “The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes runs the risk of creating an environment where our children believe that marijuana use is a legitimate, and even healthy, recreational activity.” Nevertheless, he did not come out against medical marijuana laws or in favor of federal efforts to undercut state laws. (Download the letter here.)
What Graham’s statements mean: In his August 18 New Hampshire Public Radio appearance, Graham retreated from his previous statement supporting the states’ rights to decide, saying he would not immediately end the Bush administration’s policy of arresting medical marijuana patients in states that have legalized the medical use of marijuana.
*All current members of the House and Senate running for president have voted for District of Columbia appropriations bills that included anti-medical marijuana provisions, but there was never a separate vote on any such amendment.