Last week, Scott Morgan at StoptheDrugWar.com made the argument that it may be premature to think that Mitt Romney would be worse than President Obama when it comes to marijuana policy. He accurately pointed out that Romney was not in favor of medical marijuana, but that he also hadn’t really explained his position clearly. Romney certainly was not openly suggesting the kind of attacks perpetrated by the Obama administration over the last few years. To assume that he would be worse than Obama simply because he is a Republican, the party traditionally most opposed to marijuana policy reform, would be reactionary.
Well, Romney still has not clearly laid out his position, but he gave us all some hints in an interview published the following day. He only spoke about the issue under duress and berated the reporter for bringing it up, saying that marijuana policy reform was not a significant issue.
Here is the gist of what he said:
“I think marijuana should not be legal in this country. I believe it’s a gateway drug to other drug violations. The use of illegal drugs in this country is leading to terrible consequences in places like Mexico and actually in our own country,” said Mr. Romney. “I oppose legalization of marijuana. I oppose legalization of other kinds of drugs, but I can tell you that I have a plan to get this economy going.”
What can we tell from this? Well, most obviously, Mitt Romney does not support making marijuana legal. He outright opposes it.
He is also woefully uninformed of the research showing that the gateway theory is junk science and that prohibition brings marijuana users in contact with harder drugs. In previous interviews, he has also stated that he does not think marijuana is medicine, despite the mountains of research to the contrary.
He does not understand that since marijuana has never killed a single user in recorded history, it must be our marijuana policies that are causing “terrible consequences” in Mexico
He does not understand that making marijuana legal could help get our economy going. In fact, if states were only free to develop their medical marijuana industries without federal interference, they could reap the economic benefits the way Colorado, which has more than 4,000 marijuana industry workers, has done.
That’s all pretty bad. But does it mean that President Romney would use federal resources to interfere with state medical marijuana laws?
Maybe not. In the same interview, Romney also says, “I’m not running on marriage and marijuana. Those are state issues.”
Dare we hope that Romney believes in states’ rights to such an extent that he would respect state medical marijuana laws, even though he feels so negatively about marijuana?
You be the judge. Just take a look at his other positions on states’ rights issues first.