Colorado Springs, CO: Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-WI) has expressed conflicting views in recent days regarding his position on the state-authorized use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
Speaking with a local Colorado Springs television station on Friday, Ryan said that he personally opposed the use of cannabis for any purpose, but also acknowledged that the issue "is up to (each individual state) to decide."
Seventeen states - including Colorado - and the District of Columbia have enacted laws that allow for the limited legalization of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
Immediately following Ryan's public remarks, however, campaign aids told reporters that Ryan "agrees" with Presidential candidate Mitt Romney views opposing any liberalization of cannabis prohibition. Romney has previously stated: "I would not legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. ... I know there are some on the Democratic side of the aisle who will be happy to get in your campaign. 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."
In Congress, Rep. Ryan in May voted against legislation that would have limited the federal government from interfering in states that allow for the physician-authorized use of cannabis.
As a Presidential candidate in 2008, President Obama pledged to cease utilizing "Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state laws" - a position he has failed to uphold while in office. Obama's running mate, Vice President Joe Biden, sponsored legislation as a Senator to institute the Office of National Drug Control Policy, among other anti-drug laws and drug sentencing provisions.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director at (202) 483-5500. NORML has additional details about the federal Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates here: http://norml.org/about/smoke-the-vote.