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Up in smoke? Cain says medical pot's a state issue


URBANDALE, Iowa -- GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain said he supports the ability of states to make medical marijuana available as a treatment for patients.

"If states want to legalize medical marijuana, I think that's a state's right," Cain said while campaigning in Iowa. "Because one of my overriding approaches to looking at all  of these issues -- most of them belong at the state, because when you do something federally ... you try to force one-size-fits-all."

That sentiment wouldn't necessarily make Cain the only Republican candidate who's sympathetic to marijuana rights. Texas Rep. Ron Paul supports the avialability of medical marijuana, and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson supports the drug's overall legalization.

When it comes to medical pot, an April 2010 poll by the Pew Research Center found that 61 percent of Republicans favored legalization, while 37 percent of Republicans opposed that. Self-described conservatives even split in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, 54-44 percent.

Cain made the declaration while shaking hands with voters in Urbandale, Iowa. He also answered questions about recent campaign stumbles, including his awkward, stumbling answer about his opinions on President Obama's handling of the situation in Libya. (Cain's staff attributed it to a lack of sleep.)

"I try to remember," Cain said. "I can't remember some things instantaneously, like Libya ... I try to gather my thoughts."

It wasn't the only issue where Cain's campaign was forced to clarify his position. In the same interview as his Libya gaffe, Cain said he supported collective bargaining rights (but only to an extent, saying he opposes "collective hijacking.").

"Mr. Cain was consistent in his Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial board meeting yesterday and has always supported Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s legislation to balance his state budget and give his state’s government the tools it needs during the ongoing economic crisis," Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said in a statement.