Ryan: States Should Decide Medical Marijuana Issue

Friday, 07 Sep 2012 11:06 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said on Friday that states should decide whether to legalize medical marijuana — a position far contrary to that of Mitt Romney, the number one man on the GOP ticket.

“My personal position on this issue have been let the states decide what to do with these things,” Ryan said in an interview with KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs. “This is something that is not a high priority of ours as to whether or not we go down the road on this issue.

“What I've always believed is the states should decide,” he added. “I personally don't agree with it, but this is something Coloradans have to decide for themselves.”

Colorado voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana in a ballot issue on in the Nov. 6 election. That vote would allow recreational use of the drug and have it regulated in the same way as alcohol.

Ryan was not asked about his position on the ballot measure.

But his position on medical marijuana differs greatly from Romney’s, according to the Huffington Post.

While campaigning in New Hampshire during the Republican primary, a reporter for the website asked Romney his position on several occasions. “He became visibly frustrated,” the Huffington Post reports.

“I have the same position this week I had last week when you asked the question,” Romney told the writer. The former Massachusetts governor said generally that medical marijuana should be banned because it might lead to broader marijuana legalization, which might in turn lead users to try hard drugs.

“The entryway into our drug culture for our young people is marijuana,” Romney told the Huffington Post at the time. “Marijuana is the starter drug. And the idea of medical marijuana is designed to help get marijuana out into the public marketplace and ultimately lead to the legalization of marijuana overall. And in my view, that's the wrong way to go.”

The website reported that Romney instead suggested that his questioner approach Democrats instead and promised to fight legalization.

“I know there are some on the Democratic side of the aisle that'd be happy to get in your campaign,” he told the Huffington Post. “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.”

The legalization of marijuana is on the ballot in Washington State and Oregon as well as Colorado this year.

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