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You Asked, She Answered: Kuster Takes Your Questions On Military Force, Marijuana

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Allegra Boverman for NHPR
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Ahead of our recent forum with Congresswoman Annie Kuster, we asked you to let us know what issues you wanted to hear as part of that conversation.

Kuster, a Democrat, is running for reelection to her seat representing New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District. Her opponent, Republican Jim Lawrence, also joined NHPR for a recent candidate forum – which you can hear right here.

Here’s what Kuster had to say on some of the questions you suggested.

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On the Authorization of Military Force

One of you wrote in, identifying yourself as a combat veteran, to ask whether Kuster would force an up-or-down vote on each combat zone.

Kuster said she felt “very strongly” that there should be such a vote: “There should be a debate for the American people.” 

“We should have an authorization for mil force voted by the Congress whenever we enter into new areas of conflict that entail U.S. force, so U.S. troops on the ground,” Kuster said. “The Congress should not make the White House just have to continue or Department of Defense just have to continue under this authorization of military force that’s, at this point, a dozen years old and relate it to Iraq, Afghanistan. Now the question is related to Syria, and I think the discussion should happen.”

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On Marijuana Legalization

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Someone else asked whether Kuster would support a bill to legalize marijuana. As it stands, Kuster says she hasn’t made a final decision on the issue – but she’s open to both sides of the argument.

Specifically, Kuster says she’s interested in seeing more research, ideally from states where marijuana has already been legalized, about its health impact and other outcomes. Right now, she says she’s getting “mixed messages” – some people have found it to be a useful alternative for treating some conditions, but others have cautioned that marijuana can be a gateway drug to more dangerous substances.

New Hampshire’s decision to legalize medical marijuana might be helpful, Kuster said, in providing some insight that could be applied to shaping laws at the federal level.

“I haven’t made a final decision on this,” Kuster said. “I think where we are now, going state-by-state, is actually a good thing so that we can get the research to know the impact on the society, the impact on public health and just where we go from there.”

Kuster said she would support efforts to make sure that people are able to conduct research on marijuana, given that existing drug laws make that challenging.

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You can listen to Kuster's full conversation with The Exchange here.

Casey McDermott is a senior news editor at New Hampshire Public Radio. Throughout her time as an NHPR reporter and editor, she has worked with colleagues across the newsroom to deepen the station’s accountability coverage, data journalism and audience engagement across platforms.

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