DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: One of the lighter moments of Wednesday’s epic slog of a Republican presidential primary debate came when former Florida governor Jeb Bush joked that his mother, the former first lady, would not be happy that he admitted having smoked marijuana “40 years ago.”
The line got a fair amount of laughs from the audience, but it also came amid a broader debate among the candidates over federal drug laws. Defending marijuana legalization, Sen. Rand Paul asserted that “kids who had privilege like [Bush]” are often given a pass when it comes to admitting past drug use, whereas people from poorer backgrounds — often minorities — are more likely to go to prison for using marijuana.
Paul is easily the most marijuana-friendly candidate in the Republican field, though he has famously declined to offer a straight answer as to whether or not he’s ever used the drug himself. The rest of the candidates are divided when it comes to their stances on marijuana legalization, with Bush saying that it is an issue that should be decided on a state level while others, like Carly Fiorina and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, argued that federal laws banning marijuana should be enforced in every state.