Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul decried the "war on drugs" Thursday night, telling supporters in Washington state that people should be able to make their own decisions on such matters.
Voters in Washington are likely to decide this year whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana
"If we are allowed to deal with our eternity and all that we believe in spiritually, and if we're allowed to read any book that we want under freedom of speech, why is it we can't put into our body whatever we want?" Paul told more than 1,000 people at a rally in Vancouver, a suburb of Portland, Ore.
Paul did not mention his rivals for the Republican nomination but criticized President Barack Obama for killing American citizens with suspected terrorist ties and for expanding federal regulations.
The Texas congressman said he wasn't sure if he'd win the GOP nomination and tries not to predict the future but added that he's encouraged by the enthusiasm of his supporters.
"People who are strong believers in issues and ideas and principals, they do lead the way," he said.
Paul is the second Republican to hold a major public event in Washington. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was in Olympia and Tacoma on Monday. Washington's caucuses are scheduled for March 3.
Some in the Vancouver audience came from neighboring Oregon, which has a primary set for May 15.
Paul was spending Thursday campaigning in Idaho and Washington and has rallies planned Friday in Richland and Spokane. He is expected to hit most of Washington's media markets before the state's nonbinding caucuses.