John McCain On Medical Marijuana

A group of New Hampshire voters have been asking each of the Presidential candidates their views on whether people who need it should be permitted to use, here’s what John McCain had to say on September 30th:

The funny thing is, McCain should’ve known better:

It’s refreshing that McCain is willing to state his position with such unvarnished candor. It would be even better if he knew what he was talking about.

Apparently he missed the news that federal agents recently raided the home of Leonard French, a paraplegic who had been authorized under New Mexico law to use cannabis for his condition. He now faces possible federal charges, not to mention that he was deprived of the medicine recommended by his doctor.

As for medical experts, McCain could easily find plenty who testify to the therapeutic value of pot. The American Academy of HIV Medicine says that “when appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients.”

The New England Journal of Medicine has called the federal ban on medical marijuana “misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane.” A 1999 report by the federal Institute of Medicine concluded, “Scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation.”

But, then, maybe not, because even when he was presented with evidence, McCain still refused to change his mind:

And, apparently, even the will of the people doesn’t mean much to the Captain of the Straight Talk Express:

There was a bizarre exchange on medical marijuana in the just- completed John McCain blogger call.

A questioner named Jonathan (I didn’t get his full name) asked, “Should federal law supersede the will of the people in a given state when it comes to medical marijuana?”

McCain started chuckling. “The will of the people, my friend, is that medical marijuana is not something that the quote ‘people’ want,” he responded. “Certain people feel strongly about this issue, and they show up at most town hall meetings, obviously feel very strongly about it. There is no convincing evidence…there’s evidence, but no convincing evidence to me that medical marijuana relief of pain and suffering cannot be accomplished by prescriptions from doctors… So, when you’re talking about the will of the people, you’re going to have to show me the will of the people besides the will of a small number of people who feel very strongly about the issue, as obviously you do.”

The questioner mentioned that voters approved of medical marijuana in a California referendum.

“There may be times when the will of the people, for example Iraq, the will of the people, unfortunately is that we withdraw from Iraq immediately or very very soon,” McCain shot back. “I don’t share that view of the will of the people. And I think the will of the people was that we get out of Korea when Harry Truman was president of the United States, but then he decided to do what he thought was best for the will of the country. Now, I don’t compare this issue with Iraq or Korea, but, look, I’ll be glad to continue this discussion, and read the stuff about it, but I am not changing my position on quote ‘medical marijuana,’ okay?”

I suppose we shouldn’t be shocked by this.