Tim Pawlenty would rather cancer patients suffer than smoke a little reefer

It's probably too much to ask a presidential candidate who once outlawed bong water to take an enlightened look at the benefits of medical marijuana.

But when it comes to a drug that can make life more bearable for AIDS and cancer sufferers, Tim Pawlenty ignores the medicine and sides with cops.

Minnesotans are familiar with that shtick. T-Paw vetoed a medical marijuana bill here in 2009. But Pawlenty's on a national stage now, and yesterday he found himself defending government meddling in health care while simultaneously attacking government meddling in health care at the libertarian Cato Institute.

"I stood with law enforcement on this issue," he told a questioner from the Marijuana Policy Project. "We just have a respectful difference on this issue."

And a respectful contradiction when it comes to government power and influence, too.

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