Huffpost Politics

Paul Ryan On Medical Marijuana Legalization: 'Let The States Decide' (VIDEO)

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In an interview with Colorado station KRDO-TV, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan says he believes it's up to the states to decide whether to legalize medical marijuana.

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

Voters in Colorado will decide whether to legalize marijuana this November with Amendment 64 on the ballot. (Ryan did not elaborate on whether complete decriminalization should be left to the states.)

According to KRDO-TV, Ryan made clear that he "doesn't believe" in the effort, but he nevertheless feels the issue should be reconciled at the state level.

HuffPost's Ryan Grim recently reported on GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's position on legalizing medical marijuana:

Campaigning in New Hampshire during the GOP primary, Mitt Romney was asked on several occasions whether he supported medical marijuana. He became visibly frustrated.

"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."

Romney suggested his questioner approach Democrats instead and promised to fight legalization. "I know there are some on the Democratic side of the aisle that'd be happy to get in your campaign," he said. "But I'm opposed to it, and if you elect me president, you're not going to see legalized marijuana. I'm going to fight it tooth and nail."

Ryan and Romney may differ in their posture toward medical marijuana legalization, but it's worth noting that President Barack Obama has been no ally to advancing the issue. Under the Obama administration, the federal government has taken action to crack down on dispensaries in states like Colorado and California.

CORRECTION: This post originally said voters in Colorado will decide whether to legalize medical marijuana in November. It has been updated to reflect that the vote on Amendment 64 will determine the decriminalization of marijuana, as medical marijuana is already legal in Colorado.

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