Obama to End Federal Medical Marijuana Raids

Democratic Candidates Now Unanimous

CONTACT: Stuart Cooper, GSMM campaign manager

MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE — In his first public statement on the subject, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama pledged to end medical marijuana raids in the 12 states that have medical marijuana laws Tuesday at a campaign event during a Nashua Pride minor league baseball game.

The Illinois senator's statement means all eight Democratic candidates have now voiced support for the 12 states with medical marijuana laws. Republican candidates Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson have all vowed to end medical marijuana raids as well.

On Friday, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who signed legislation in April making his the 12th medical marijuana state, wrote to President Bush asking him to end federal raids in medical marijuana states.

"Respected physicians and government officials should not fear going to jail for acting compassionately and caring for our most vulnerable citizens," Richardson wrote. "Nor should those most vulnerable of citizens fear their government because they take the medicine they need."

Obama's pledge came as a response to a question from Nashua resident and Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana volunteer Scott Turner, who asked the senator what he would do to stop the federal government from putting seriously ill people like Turner in prison in states where medical marijuana is legal.

"I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users," Obama said. "It's not a good use of our resources."

"For the first time in history, the leaders of one of our nation’s major parties have unanimously called for an end to the federal prosecution of medical marijuana patients," GSMM campaign manager Stuart Cooper, from Manchester, said. "New Hampshire voters and medical professionals effectively sent a clear message that we would not support a candidate who would arrest – rather than protect – our nation's most seriously ill citizens. Compassion and reason are finally overcoming politics and propaganda."

Federal intrusion into medical marijuana states has been on the rise this summer, with DEA raids taking place in several counties in California and Oregon. Recently, the DEA also began threatening landlords who lease space to medical marijuana dispensaries – legal under state law – with seizure of their property, a move condemned in a Los Angeles Times editorial as "a deplorable new bullying tactic."

Based in Manchester, New Hampshire, Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana is a grassroots coalition of New Hampshire patients, medical professionals 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 www.GraniteStaters.com.