Your Daily Newt: Legalize It

As a service to our readers, every day we are delivering a classic moment from the political life of Newt Gingrich—until he either clinches the nomination or bows out.

Newt Gingrich occasionally smoked marijuana as a graduate student at Tulane. As he explained later, “that was a sign we were alive and in graduate school in that era.” Hey, it was the ’60s. So it made a certain amount of sense that as a back-bench congressman, he penned a letter to the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association calling for the drug to be legalized for medicinal purposes:

We believe licensed physicians are competent to employ marijuana, and patients have a right to obtain marijuana legally, under medical supervision, from a regulated source. The medical prohibition does not prevent seriously ill patients from employing marijuana; it simply deprives them of medical supervision and denies them access to a regulated medical substance. Physicians are often forced to choose between their ethical responsibilities to the patient and their legal liabilities to federal bureaucrats.

Fast-forward to the present:

Fact:

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  • Tim Murphy

    Tim Murphy is a senior reporter at Mother Jones. Reach him at tmurphy@motherjones.com.