Democratic presidential candidate and congressman from Ohio Dennis Kucinich announced last week that if he is elected president, he would issue an executive order legalizing the use of medicinal marijuana to treat the symptoms of AIDS, cancer, and other serious illnesses. "I've talked to too many people who have had family members suffering from terminal illness who feel [medical marijuana] would provide them the most relief from pain and suffering," he said. "If a doctor makes that determination, or the patient asks for it, I think it ought to be permitted."
Kucinich is the only Democratic candidate to state his support for legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), also a Democratic presidential hopeful, said he would not change the existing law but would set up a commission to study the medical effects of marijuana. Such use is legal in California and seven other states, but federal law prohibits the use of marijuana for any purpose. "My office would be involved in not only overturning the law but in facilitating the use of medical marijuana as an act of compassion and expression of humanity," Kucinich said.