On Monday, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty announced his decision to run for President of the United States. This should have been cause for concern for marijuana reformers and medical marijuana patients, and today that concern was justified.
Gov. Pawlenty has been no friend to marijuana reform in the past. In 2009, he vetoed a bill that would have allowed only terminally ill Minnesotans to use marijuana to ease their pain in their final days. Even though this bill was narrowly tailored to address the concerns of law enforcement, Pawlenty vetoed it regardless, citing... further law enforcement concerns.
This is the same guy who supported a court decision that could have made possession of bong water a felony.
Given this disturbing behavior, and the damage that an anti-marijuana zealot in the White House could do to all the progress we have made in the last few years, we decided to find out if T-Paw still feels the same about the issue.
After speaking today at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. on such subjects as limited government, federal interference in health care, and saving taxpayer money, MPP’s Bob Capecchi asked the former governor how he could justify vetoing the Minnesota medical marijuana bill, given his stances on these issues.
Pawlenty dodged these obvious inconsistencies completely, and deferred to his standard rhetoric.
“Marijuana? Yeah,” Pawlenty said. “Well... I stood with law enforcement on this issue. We just have a respectful difference on this issue."
He also mentioned that law enforcement have pretty serious concerns about medical marijuana. Is one of those concerns losing the ability to waste taxpayer money arresting sick people? This difference of opinion doesn’t seem respectful to seriously ill people, let alone to ideological consistency or integrity.
Marijuana reform could become a huge issue during the next presidential election. It is important that we keep putting pressure on candidates to clearly state their position on the issue, and to hold them accountable for that stance in the polls. We need to confront every candidate at every opportunity! Some of us are sure to get chances to question the candidates prior to the election, so let’s use them!
Please send any video of candidates answering such questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.