Clinton Pledges to End Medical Marijuana Raids; McCain Flip-Flops

U.S.'s Second Largest Cancer Charity Calls for Legal Medical Marijuana Access as Candidates Weigh Support

CONTACT: Stuart Cooper, GSMM campaign manager, (202) 360-2744

MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- Two prominent presidential contenders have moved in opposite directions on the issue of federal attacks on medical marijuana patients, as America's second largest cancer charity, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, came out strongly for protection of medical marijuana patients. Democratic frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) called for an end to federal raids in states where medical use of marijuana is legal, while Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) backtracked on an earlier promise to end the raids.

    During a Manchester campaign on July 13, Len Epstein, a volunteer for Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana (GSMM), told Sen. Clinton, "Twelve states allow medical marijuana, but the Bush administration continues to raid patients," to which she responded, "Yes, I know. It's terrible." Epstein then asked, "Would you stop the federal raids?" Sen. Clinton responded firmly, "Yes, I will."

    The following day in Claremont, Sen. McCain held a town hall meeting at which he was asked about his stance on medical marijuana. When asked in April about ending the medical marijuana raids, McCain had responded, "I will let states decide that issue."

    But this time, when GSMM campaign manager Stuart Cooper asked Sen. McCain if he still supported ending the raids, he went into headlong retreat. "Not yet," he said. "I don't think marijuana is healthy, I don't think that it is good for people, and there is a large body of medical opinion that says there is plenty of other medications that are more effective and better and less damaging to one's health to use to relieve pain. So I will continue to look at it on your behalf and many other young people who feel very strongly about it, but right now my answer to you is no."

    "Apparently the 'Straight Talk Express' just became the Bob-and-Weave Express," Cooper said. "In addition to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, medical groups such as the American Public Health Association and the American Nurses Association strongly support protection for medical marijuana patients, and the presidential candidates should understand that Americans don't want suffering patients arrested."

    Based in Manchester, New Hampshire, Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana is a grassroots coalition of patients and activists. GSMM is organizing during the New Hampshire presidential primary campaign to raise awareness of the need for federal action to protect medical marijuana patients. For further information, please see