Presidential races

Pot politics: 2016 GOP hopefuls on their past marijuana use

Getty Images

Jeb was a high school stoner. Ted Cruz smoked pot as well. Rand Paul hasn’t explicitly copped to it, but his old fraternity brothers seem to think he did. Marco Rubio won’t say either way — but hasn’t denied having dabbled.

A large chunk of the Republican primary field has admitted to using marijuana at some point in their lives, a sign the old politics of pot are going up in smoke, even within GOP primary circles. 

{mosads}Democrats, too, have had to face the question. But they’re less likely to face backlash or scrutiny from their base on the issue.

For politicians of both stripes, gone are the days of Bill Clinton’s “didn’t inhale” excuse. Here’s what each candidate has said about their past drug use.

Jeb Bush

The former Florida governor copped to puffing at prep school last week.

“I drank alcohol, and I smoked marijuana when I was at Andover,” Bush told The Boston Globe. “It was pretty common.”

Bush’s buddy said they used to get stoned while listening to Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride.”

Ted Cruz

The Texas senator’s staff admitted on Tuesday that he smoked out as a teen.

“Teenagers are often known for their lack of judgment, and Sen. Cruz was no exception,” a Cruz spokesman told the Daily Mail. “When he was a teenager, he foolishly experimented with marijuana. It was a mistake, and he’s never tried it since.”

Rand Paul

Paul has refused to explicitly say he’s smoked weed, though the Kentucky senator has taken shots at Bush for opposing medical marijuana and prison reform in light of his new revelation.

“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,” Paul said late last year.

A frat buddy from Baylor University, a Baptist college, was more blunt when asked about it during Paul’s 2010 Senate campaign.

“Randy smoked pot,” William John Green said in 2010.

Marco Rubio

The Florida senator — and Wiz Khalifa fan — has refused to say whether he’s smoked weed, calling it “irrelevant” on multiple occasions.

“If I tell you that I haven’t, you won’t believe me. And if I tell you that I did, then kids will look up to me and say, ‘Well, I can smoke marijuana because look how he made it. He did alright so I guess I can do it too,’ ” Rubio said in early 2014. “And the bottom line is that it is a substance that alters your mind. Now when I was 17 and 18 and 16, I made dumb decisions as is. I didn’t need the help of marijuana or alcohol to further that.” 

Chris Christie

The former prosecutor harshed pot fans’ mellows when he threatened to veto a New Jersey  bill decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

But has he ever imbibed? 

“The answer is no,” Christie tweeted when asked by a Willie Nelson-inspired pro-pot twitter handle in 2012.

Ben Carson

The former neurosurgeon hasn’t said either way about his past. While he’s defended medical marijuana, he warns against legalizing it for general consumption because it’s a “gateway drug” and causes “hedonistic activity.”

Mike Huckabee

The former Southern Baptist minister doesn’t drink and even opposed dancing, when he was in divinity school.

Rick Perry

The former Texas governor has supported relaxing pot punishment laws — but not out of any personal interest.

“No, thank God!” he told Jimmy Kimmel when asked if he’d ever toked. “But does second-hand count? Because I think there’s still some left in there where Snoop [Dogg] was.”

Hillary Clinton

The former Democratic secretary of State’s husband has owned up to smoking weed after his infamous “didn’t inhale” dodge during his own presidential run. But Hillary never did.

“I didn’t do it when I was young, I’m not going to start now,” Clinton said on CNN last year

Martin O’Malley

The Democratic former Maryland governor signed a law legalizing small amounts of weed but hasn’t said whether he’s tried it himself.

Bernie Sanders

The self-declared socialist senator from Vermont has said he’s smoked — but wasn’t no hippie.

“My hair was long, but not long for the times. I smoked marijuana but was never part of the drug culture. That wasn’t me,” the possible Democratic candidate recently told New York magazine.

Tags Chris Christie Jeb Bush Marco Rubio Marijuana Medical cannabis Mike Huckabee Rand Paul Ted Cruz
See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video