Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama recently toured Oregon with his campaign. In the southwestern Oregon town of Medford, he sat down with the Medford Mail-Tribune for an interview. (Cue video to 5:00 for the question of Oregon’s medical marijuana initiative.)
“When it comes to medical marijuana, I have more of a practical view than anything else,” the Senator explained. “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.”
I’m not familiar with all the details of the initiative that was passed [in Oregon] 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. I would not punish doctors if it’s 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 [laughs] when we’re trying to get health care passed or end the war in Iraq is, yeah, the likelihood of that being real high on my list is not likely.
“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.”
Senator Obama, people in twelve medical marijuana states are already “growing their own”. At a time when you are trying to “get health care passed”, doesn’t it make sense to allow people to grow their own medicine as a method of reducing overall health care costs? The only concern anyone has about patients growing medicine is whether that medicine gets diverted to the black market, a condition you as president could alleviate by adding your support to Rep. Barney Franks’ bills to decriminalize personal marijuana possession at the federal level.