By Alexander Bolton - 01/30/15 07:09 PM EST
DALLAS — Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulConservative group presses GOP to vote against spending bill Saudi skeptics gain strength in Congress Senators challenge status quo on Saudi arms sales MORE (R-Ky.) accused Jeb Bush of hypocrisy after The Boston Globe reported the former Florida governor was a heavy marijuana smoker while at an elite prep school.
Bush opposed a Florida medical marijuana ballot initiative last year even though he partook liberally of the herb while in high school.
“He was even opposed to medical marijuana,” Paul said of Bush, a potential rival in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. “This is a guy who now admits he smoked marijuana but he wants to put people in jail who do.
“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,” he said.
“Had he been caught at Andover, he’d have never been governor, he’d probably never have a chance to run for the presidency,” he added.
Bush told The Globe in a recent interview about his four years at Phillips Academy in Andover, one of the nation’s most prestigious prep schools, “I drank and I smoked marijuana when I was at Andover,” explaining the behavior was “pretty common.”
The Globe cited a former classmate, Peter Tibbetts, who said he first smoked marijuana with Bush and also consumed cannabis, a concentration of the plant’s resin, in Bush’s dorm room.
Tibbetts recalled Bush cranking up Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride” on the stereo while he and his classmates got stoned.
Bush has acknowledged using marijuana previously, calling it “stupid” and “wrong.”
He issued a statement in August urging Florida voters to reject a proposal allowing the use of marijuana to treat debilitating diseases.
He argued it would undermine the state’s image as a “family-friendly destination for tourism and a desirable place to raise a family or retire.”
“Allowing large-scale marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter to all these efforts,” he claimed.
Paul dinged Bush for now opposing the legalization of marijuana for medical use.
The Kentucky senator has spoken extensively about the need to review the efficacy of the nation’s war on drugs and reconsider harsh prison sentences and other penalties for non-violent offenders.
“I think in politics the biggest thing, the thing that voters from any part of the spectrum hate worse than anything is hypocrisy. And hypocrisy is, ‘Hey I did it and it’s okay for me because I was rich and at an elite school but if you’re poor and black or brown and live in a poor section of one of our big cities, we’re going to put you in jail and throw away the key,’ ” Paul said.
Paul has hinted at using marijuana in the past.
He told a Louisville television station in December that he “wasn’t a choir boy” when asked if he used the drug in college.
“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,” he said, according to an Associated Press report on the broadcast.
Paul introduced an amendment in July that would shield states that enact medical marijuana laws from federal prosecution. It covered 33 states, including California, Kentucky and New Hampshire. He has called decade-long jail sentences for possession or sale of marijuana “ridiculous.”