Paul Campaign Clarifies Medical Marijuana Stance

Many readers have been questioning the accuracy of an Associated Press article I blogged about recently claiming Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul, who has defended the rights of states to pass medical marijuana laws, “is opposed to the legalization of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes.”

As a former reporter, I always strive for accuracy, so I just got off the phone with a representative of the Paul campaign in order to clarify the candidate’s position — which isn’t as simple as the AP made it out to be.

“Doctor Paul’s stance has not changed, and that is a case of sloppy reporting,” said Nena Bartlett, Paul’s assistant campaign manager. “His position is that it’s a states’ rights issue.”

However, when I asked Bartlett if Paul personally supports medical marijuana laws, and would, for example, vote for a bill protecting patients from arrest if he were a member of a state legislature, she demurred.

“I’m actually not positive that he’s taken that stance,” Bartlett said. “He just believes it should be left up to the states … I’m not sure if that’s a position he would take at this time. It’s a decision for doctors and patients at the local level.”

So there we have it. Rand Paul believes the federal government should not interfere in state medical marijuana laws. But he does not support such laws himself, at least not at this time. It was therefore inaccurate for the AP to say he “is opposed” to medical marijuana laws. (Though the Paul campaign will not say he’s “in favor” of them either.) I regret having helped to spread that misinformation, and want to apologize to our readers.

MPP’s blog — like nearly every other one online — relies almost entirely on outside news organizations to provide us with information that we then analyze and make entertaining for our readers. As this episode demonstrates, sometimes news outlets get it wrong—even ones as old and esteemed as the AP. With that in mind, I hope our readers will appreciate where we’re coming from, and understand that we will always do what’s in our power to promote accurate information — and correct something when it’s wrong.

As always, thanks for reading.

27 thoughts on “Paul Campaign Clarifies Medical Marijuana Stance”

  1. Hey good for you for addressing the inconsistencies Mike. Having the integrity to investigate further in light of conflicting evidence — as opposed to stubbornly sticking to your original story — speaks volumes about the credibility of the information disseminated here. I don’t expect the AP to demonstrate the same dedication to truth and accuracy.

    As for Paul, it’s too bad that he’s not more enthusiastic about marijuana reform. That said, an actual development toward federal respect of state’s rights here would be a good thing. Not that this says much, but his stance on the issue is far more amenable to real reform than most politicians.

  2. One way or another, Rand Paul has made it clear that he has sold out marijuana law reform. If he thinks he can’t win an election if he supports reform, then he’s certainly not going to vote for it in congress.

  3. Ben, don’t be too sure. Even his father backed away from his drug positions when he wanted to get re-elected to congress.

    But Rand’s stated position is in line with the constitution and consistent with ending the federal war on drugs.

  4. LOL oh wow look at us apologizing for some stupid mistake.
    I want someone apologizing “Oh, Im sorry, marijuana doesn’t
    kill brain cells, sorry we told your mother that so now she
    thinks you’re going to become retarded.”

  5. NBD-\

    Had you stuck to your story after knowing you were wrong, you would be no better that the prohibitionists that perpetuate ignorant marijuana laws and lies.

    You would have become your own enemy!

  6. I want someone to apologize for ruining the lives of over 20 million Americans since 1970 over an unjust, racially biased, capitalistic motivated law that finally caught up with me 2 years ago and now after 37 years of dodging corrupt cops, I now have a record – all because I decided to urinate on a tree at a NJ Turnpike rest stop. FUCK EVERY PROHIBITIONIST ON EARTH!!!! YOU ARE ALL FUCKING EVIL!!!!

  7. “As this episode demonstrates, sometimes news outlets get it wrong—even ones as old and esteemed as the AP.”

    Sometimes they get it wrong? How about always when it is politically convenient.

    As for the AP being “esteemed”, well, I just had to laugh at that one.

  8. I told you so MPP! Thank you for stepping up and reporting this. But its also unfair for you to still say “well he doesn’t personally have a comment to make, there for he isn’t willing to side with us” remark.

    They just told you, its a STATE issue, his PERSONAL OPPINION doesn’t matter, and it shouldn’t. All he cares about is what voters want, and to do what the voters want. If a state votes for it, then HE IS FOR THAT STATES RIGHT TO CHOOSE. If a state chooses not to have it, THEN HE IS FOR THAT STATES RIGHT TO CHOOSE.

    The question that you should be asking is “Dr.Paul do you support ending the drug war, and federal prohibition against Marijuana?” That is a federal issue, not a state issue. Medical Marijuana, at this time, is a State issue.

  9. Thanks for doing your homework, but I have read it more than in one place that Rand Paul I against ANY and ALL forms of Marijuana. Maybe his stance is leave it up to the states, sure, but he is sure Kentucky won’t be getting marijuana of any nature soon. He is opposed to MJ 100 percent.

  10. Medical Marijuana, at this time, is a State issue.

    Eh, not exclusively. Continued federal Schedule 1 status is absolutely a factor in the ongoing medical marijuana evolution, and is exactly the sort of thing Paul should be criticizing if he truly does support a federalist stance.

  11. Rand Paul said he supports reducing or eliminated federal money for undercover drug operations. Undercover drug agents the most evil people in the world, even worse than child molesters, mass murderers, or Dick Cheney.

    Good for Rand!

  12. Stop apologizing, sounds like the Rand Paul campaign is intentionally keeping things murky.

    Either way, I’m done with Mr Rand Paul which is incredibly heartbreaking to me.

    If someone can’t look at the issue and see it should be a patient’s decision, then that person is a flake to the point of criminality.

  13. DRTYrayzor heck yes personal opinion matters.

    If someone is for puppy killing but promises they won’t vote for it I’m still a bit skeptical of that person.

  14. lets not get dramatic Mark

    Rand and Ron Paul are very different politicos than most. Although they may personally believe one thing, they have a higher order of responsibility honoring the constitution, and respecting that other ppl may disagree with them, and there for lead with how the people vote vs, “this is what I believe and i’m going to enforce my will upon you!”

    Its not that they are “keeping it murky” ppl just have been fed crap for so long that when someone says “i’m for ppl voting on it and supporting how ppl vote” they get confused, not use to actual democracy in action. We are so use to politicos shoving crap down our throats and swallowing it.

    you say its heartbreaking to be done with someone based on what? lies about that person which continue to be disproven over and over again? why do you keep hard feelings on ppl when you find the truth about the situation? sounds like your just looking for someone to be angry with, and there for your an angry person. so smoke a bowl and chillout

  15. Ron Paul will End this corrupt unconstitutional Drug War if he were elected president in 2012! Vote Ron Paul 2012 and Legalize Freedom!!

  16. Rand is better than Conway. Period. Im glad he is being vague. You know how tough it must have been for his pops?

    Whats funny is this stat:

    Note that Rands dad holds the most hardline positions and has the highest approval ratings in Congress. To bad others dont have the balls to stand up for principle.. also note.. that the Ron beats the next candidate by 20%.

    Principle is awesome.. but it wont sway govt benefiting people. Rand needs to ease into his seat and he knows it.

    KY is lucky as hell to have him. Lets hope he wins.

  17. To have a Senator Paul in the U.S. Capitol will be a GIGANTIC STEP FORWARD toward ending pot prohibition. Go Rand!

  18. PRESS RELEASE (FYI) August 20, 2010

    Listen, I am on the Colorado Ballot this November 2nd for the US Senate as “Unaffiliated.” I will be the historical first “Unaffiliated” US Senator.

    But I need your help, support, and of course any donations you can make. I have just 70 days to fully get the word out, and frankly that cost money. I am grassrooted and I don’t have the access to the deep pockets the main parties have.

    Please check out my website, but seriously, I will fight to “Stop the Insanity, Fix the economic mess and end the free rides.” As far as it goes for you and me, I will personally write and fight to get the bill you SHOULD be concerned about, it will simply say:

    “Remove Marijuana(Cannabis) from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. § 812b).”

    I was on the law committee for NORML at WSU in 1976, I know this fight has gone on for 30+ years. In 1970, Cannabis was placed on Schedule I in 2011 it can be taken off.

    It does not matter if you vote, if you live in Colorado, but you have to care and fight with me for this. I am asking you now to TAKE ACTION. I know times are hard, look, I am out each day hitting the pavement. Since May I have seen ten thousand people, toe-to-toe, face-to-face, eye-to-eye on the serious issues we face. I am a fighter, but I need your help.

    Give what you can, spread the word, get this message out. Thank you, believe me I know the power of prayer is true, God bless America and God Bless you. Any donation no matter how small will help.
    Volunteer at
    Donations also to: Thanks!

    Else drop a check to:

    CharleyMiller2010 PO BOX 630482, Littleton, CO 80163-0482

    Paid for by charleymiller2010, approved by Charley Miller.

  19. Oh well, Rand paul STILL will never get my vote until he starts “Supporting” our cause!

  20. Supporting the states constitutional rights to decide for themselves is in line with our goals. I personally disagree with abortion, but I advocate pro-choice. Just because I may disagree with something doesn’t mean I have the right to tell others that they can’t do it. There is nothing wrong with that. Ron Paul has stated that he doesn’t think using drugs is a good idea but advocates letting people make their own choices and living with the consequences of their choices. That is a great stance if you ask me.

  21. all this talk about pro-choice/pro-life.. the pro-life people are terrorists that do not support freedom. The pro-life terrorists should be in prison for endangering the lives of Americans.

    the ‘war-on-drugs’ is an absurd waste of taxpayers money. Marijuana should have never been illegal in the first place. The people responsible should be deported.
    The farmers in America grew hemp for manufacturing until the traitors made it ‘illegal’.
    Most people agree that marijuana hurts no one and should be an individual choice. The people that stop that choice are anti-American, much the same as the pro-life extremist terrorists.

  22. ” “He just believes it should be left up to the states … I’m not sure if that’s a position he would take at this time. It’s a decision for doctors and patients at the local level.”

    So there we have it. Rand Paul believes the federal government should not interfere in state medical marijuana laws. But he does not support such laws himself, at least not at this time. It was therefore inaccurate for the AP to say he “is opposed” to medical marijuana laws. (Though the Paul campaign will not say he’s “in favor” of them either.)”

    What a silly claim. Rand Paul is absolutely for the ability of States to incarcerate drug users.

    “he does not support such laws himself”

    What a non-answer and half-truth. He supports any state who wishes to make such a law.

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