Howard Dean on Drugs
Former VT Governor; Former Democratic Candidate for President
None of these three baby-boomer candidates said anything beyond their short, declarative affirmations. None followed with a hurried explanation that it was just a few times, that it was some kind of "youthful indiscretion," or that he didn't inhale. The implication of their answers seemed to be, "Yeah, so what?..."
The next day's news coverage of the debate focused on the attacks on Dr. Dean for his references to appealing to people who fly the Confederate flag. The admissions of marijuana smoking by three of the Democratic candidates for president were largely ignored.
A: I don't think they should throw people in jail, but here's what I think. The process by which medical marijuana is being legalized is the wrong process. I don't like it when politicians interfere in medicine. It's why I am very pro-choice, because I don't think that is the government's business. So what I will do as president is, I will require the FDA within 12 months to evaluate marijuana and see if it is, in fact, a decent medicine or not. If it is, for what purposes -- and I suspect it will be for cancer patients and HIV/AIDS patients. And it should be allowed for that. But I suspect it will not be allowed for things like glaucoma. But we have to do the FDA studies. I think marijuana should be treated like every other drug in the process and there shouldn't be a special process which is based on politics to legalize it.
A: I am in favor of really hammering dealers. They are merchants of death & destruction & misery. The rest of the drug problem-the casual users-is a public health problem, not a criminal problem, and we ought to approach it using a medical model. I particularly like drug courts where the court has wide discretion to sentence people to rehabilitation. It's smarter to send casual users of serious drugs to rehab rather than jail. And it's cheaper in the long run. Even if they will fail rehabilitation 3 or 4 times, that's what you have to understand about substance abusers. From a medical point of view, as a physician, and also as a governor, I think we ought to treat drug abuse as a public health problem. I'm not in favor of decriminalizing drugs. That sends a very bad message to young people-we already have a serious problem with the drugs that are legal, alcohol and tobacco, and adding a third drug is not a good idea.
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George W. Bush
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|Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts|