Sen. Rand Paul took the occasion of former Florida Gov. Jeb’s Bush’s admission that he smoked pot as a teenager as an opportunity to jab his probable 2016 opponent as a hypocrite on the issue of medical marijuana, something Bush opposes.
Paul was referring to a piece in the Boston Globe about Bush’s early days at Andover Academy, the traditional Bush family prep school, where it was revealed that as a teenager Jeb “smoked a notable amount of pot.”
The Globe piece went on to quote the former Florida governor himself admitting to his early indiscretions.
“I drank alcohol and I smoked marijuana when I was at Andover,” Bush said. “It was pretty common.”
Bush has announced that he is seriously looking into running for the GOP nomination for president but Paul, one of Bush’s likely opponents for that nomination, has seized upon Bush’s admission as a campaign issue.
Paul told The Hill newspaper that Jeb Bush’s negative views on medical marijuana is hypocritical in light of his past drug use.
“This is a guy who now admits he smoked marijuana,” Paul said, “but he wants to put people in jail who do. You would think he’d have a little more understanding, then. I think that’s the real hypocrisy, is that people on our side, which include a lot of people who made mistakes growing up, admit their mistakes but now still want to put people in jail for that.”
Last August, Bush strongly opposed the medical marijuana initiative that faced Florida voters during last year’s elections, urging Floridians to vote against the measure.
In his statement on the initiative, Bush said, “allowing large-scale, marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter” to the state’s plans on tourism and business.
Ultimately, the medical marijuana initiative did not pass. Despite the fact that Amendment 2 received the most votes it did not reach the 60 percent threshold to become law.
Paul has also hinted that he used the drug as a young man.
“Let’s just say I wasn’t a choir boy when I was in college and that I can recognize that kids make mistakes, and I can say that I made mistakes when I was a kid,” the Kentucky Senator told the Associated Press last year.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter: @warnerthuston. Email the author at email@example.com.