Howard Dean on Drugs

Former VT Governor; Former Democratic Candidate for President


Treat drug abuse as a medical problem, not a judicial one

Dean was outlining his plan to keep kids out of trouble when someone in the crowd said that marijuana should be decriminalized. Dean responded that wouldn’t solve the problem, “but since you brought it up, I think substance abuse should be treated as a medical problem not a judicial problem.”
Source: Associated Press in Ogden (UT) Standard , Nov 17, 2003

Smoked marijuana in the past, as did other Dems

[At the “Rock the Vote” debate, the moderator asked], “Which of you are ready to admit to having used marijuana in the past?” “Yes,” said Senator John Kerry, leading off. “Yes,” said Senator John Edwards . “Yes,” said Dr. Howard Dean.

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.

Source: Steven A. Holmes, New York Times, on 2004 election , Nov 9, 2003

Evaluate marijuana & legalize for valid medical purposes

Q: What should the federal government do about medical marijuana?

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.

Source: CNN coverage: Larry King Live Interview with Howard Dean , Aug 4, 2003

Hammer the dealers; treat the casual users

Q: I was wondering what your drug policies are?

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.

Source: 2004 presidential website, DeanForAmerica.com, “Drug Policy” , Jan 14, 2003

More federal funding for all aspects of Drug War.

Dean adopted the National Governors Association policy:

Source: NGA policy HR-13: Combating and Controlling Substance Abuse 00-NGA2 on Aug 15, 2000

Rated C- by VOTE-HEMP, indicating an anti-hemp voting record.

Dean scores C- by VOTE-HEMP on pro-hemp legalization policies

VOTE HEMP is a non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and free market for Industrial Hemp. Industrial Hemp is non-psychoactive low THC varieties of the cannabis sativa plant. Currently, it is illegal for U.S. farmers to grow Industrial Hemp because it is improperly classified as a "drug" under the Controlled Substances Act. Since changes in law require shifts in thinking and this requires education in the facts, our primary goal is the education of legislators and regulators, farmers and businesses, students and other concerned citizens.

Source: VOTE-HEMP website 02n-HEMP on Dec 31, 2003

Other candidates on Drugs: Howard Dean on other issues:
Former Presidents/Veeps:
George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
V.P.Dick Cheney
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
V.P.Al Gore
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower (R,1953-1961)
Harry_S_TrumanHarry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

Religious Leaders:
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Old Testament
Pope Francis

Political Thinkers:
Noam Chomsky
Milton Friedman
Arianna Huffington
Rush Limbaugh
Tea Party
Ayn Rand
Secy.Robert Reich
Joe Scarborough
Gov.Jesse Ventura
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Page last updated: Oct 27, 2021