Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren said she supports legalizing medical marijuana during a radio interview with Boston's WTKK-FM Monday. In answering a question about the Massachusetts ballot initiative, she recalled sitting with her father on his death bed, when "there was some discussion" about whether marijuana would have helped:
You know, I held my father's hand while he died of cancer, and it's really painful when you do something like that up close and personal. My mother was already gone and I was very very close to my father. And it puts me in a position of saying, if there's something a physician can prescribe that can help someone who's suffering, I'm in favor of that. Now, I want to make sure they've got the right restrictions. It should be like any other prescription drug. That there's careful control over it. But I think it's really hard to watch somebody suffer that you love.
Warren's statement comes as public support for decriminalizing marijuana is growing. A poll in May found that 56 percent of Americans now support legalizing marijuana and regulating it like states regulate alcohol and tobacco. In Massachusetts, a more recent poll found 59 percent of voters support legalizing marijuana specifically for medical use.
Should Massachusetts voters approve the measure on the November ballot to legalize medical marijuana in the state, Massachusetts will join 17 other states and the District of Columbia, which already have some statute in place decriminalizing medical marijuana. In spite of this growing movement among the states, federal officials are continuing to crack down on dispensaries, enforcing federal law even where state laws allow those dispensaries.
Arkansas and Montana will also hold ballot initiatives on medical marijuana this year, and Colorado, Washington and Oregon will consider measures to decriminalize marijuana for both medical and recreational uses. An initiative to legalize medical marijuana in North Dakota was blocked by the Secretary of State, and the North Dakota Supreme Court recently upheld that move.