Herman Cain said Tuesday at a campaign stop in Iowa that he believes states should be able to legalize medical marijuana.

If states want to legalize medical marijuana, I think thats a states right, Cain said, according to NBC NewsBecause 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.

Cain was asked about medical marijuana earlier this year while campaigning for the Ames, Iowa, straw poll, but declined to answer the question. The issue has split the Republican field, with candidates staking out a range of opinions.


Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry have echoed Cains position — that legalization of medical marijuana should be up to the states — while libertarians including Ron Paul and Gary Johnson have supported the repeal of anti-drug laws. Newt Gingrich was in favor of medical marijuana during his time in the House of Representatives, but has since stated that he opposes legalization. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have both said they oppose legalization.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, although the drug remains illegal under federal law. President Obama said as a candidate in 2008 that he would not interfere with state medical marijuana dispensaries, although earlier this summer the Justice Department signaled its intention to resume raids on the businesses.

Eighty-one percent of Americans supported legalizing marijuana for medical use in an ABC News/Washington Post poll from 2010. Roughly half of Americans favor decriminalizing the drug for recreational use.