Paul Ryan Talks Medical Marijuana Legalization: ‘Let the States Decide’


Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. speaks at WestPac Restorations in Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. (Credit: AP)

The issue of legalizing medical marijuana is not high on the priority list for the Romney/Ryan ticket. However, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan on Thursday told Colorado station KRDO-TV that legalizing medical marijuana is a decision that should be made by individual states.

“My personal position on these issues has been let the states decide what they want to do with these things,” he said. “This is something that is not a high priority of ours.”

Colorado is currently mulling whether to legalize marijuana and residents will vote on the issue in November with “Amendment 64” on the ballot.

But Ryan told KRDO-TV not to mistake his position as support for medical marijuana, saying he “doesn’t believe” in the initiative but still fells it is an issue best resolved by the states.

“I personally don’t agree with it, but this is something Coloradans have to decide for themselves,” he added.

Still, the opinion seemingly differs slightly from that of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. As Huffington Post points out, when asked by a repoter in New Hampshire earlier this year about legalizing medical marijuana he reponded:

“I have the same position this week I had last week when you asked the question,” he said, before arguing fairly loosely that medical marijuana should be banned because it might lead to broader marijuana legalization, which might in turn lead pot smokers to try hard drugs.

“The entryway into our drug culture for our young people is marijuana,” Romney said. “Marijuana is the starter drug. And the idea of medical marijuana is designed to help get marijuana out into the public marketplace and ultimately lead to the legalization of marijuana overall. And in my view, that’s the wrong way to go.”

The Barack Obama administration initially signaled it would not interfere with states with medical marijuana. But federal prosecutors have since shut down medical marijuana dispensaries in California and Colorado.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.