Jeb Bush Just Made A Series Of False Comments On Marijuana

MASSACHUSETTS: Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush says that he supports the decriminalization of marijuana, but says that he remains opposed to federal legalization, citing a series of myths about weed.

In an interview with a Boston radio station on Friday, Bush made a slight shift in his position on marijuana — previously, he had declined to voice support fordecriminalization — but also stated that marijuana was a gateway drug that leads people to seek more dangerous drugs, which studies show is untrue. The episode aired at 8 a.m. EST Friday, but the episode is not currently available online.

“It’s one thing to say we should have decriminalization of marijuana. I support that,” Bush told WBZ NewsRadio. But he went on to say that “marijuana is a gateway drug just as opiates are a gateway drug.”


Chris Christie’s Claim That He ‘Supported And Implemented’ New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Laws

NEW JERSEY:  In New Jersey, we have medical marijuana laws, which I supported and implemented. … I’m not against medical marijuana. We do it in New Jersey. But I’m against the recreational use of marijuana.”

— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), the second GOP debate, Sept. 16, 2015

Several claims from the second Republican presidential debate stood out to our readers as fishy, such as this one. We fact-checked 18 other claims, including some by Christie, right after that debate, with a deeper looks at statements by Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina. How accurate is this claim?

The Facts

Christie’s predecessor, Democrat Jon Corzine, signed the New Jersey Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act into law Jan. 10, 2010 — his last day as governor. That left Christie with the responsibility of carrying out the law, which was expected to take effect over six months.

The law made it legal for patients with certain debilitating medical conditions (including cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease and any terminal illness where the patient was not expected to live more than a year). It gave the state health department authority to write regulations for the medical marijuana program.

When campaigning for governor, Christie said he supported medical marijuana in a limited scope for certain patients. But he criticized the law for not being tough enough, and said he wanted to see it “tightened up a little bit.”

Rand Paul Hits Jeb Bush On Marijuana Rich Kid ‘Hypocrisy

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul continued to hit former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Thursday for admitting to smoking marijuana in high school — saying his “hypocrisy” is an example of why drug laws need changing in U.S.

Bush admitted in previous interviews and again during Wednesday’s Republican presidential primary debate smoking marijuana while attending the prestigious Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.

“He didn’t go to jail,” Paul told students at the University of Nevada-Reno on Thursday. “Why? Because he was rich, and he was elite, and he was going to a very special school.”

Paul said he didn’t begrudge Bush’s education, but said that Bush supports policies that disproportionately result in minority and lower-income young people going to jail for lengthy sentences.

Rand Paul To Raise Money With Marijuana Industry In Denver

COLORADO: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s trip to Colorado this week includes a first for a presidential candidate: a fundraiser with the marijuana industry.

The Republican is raising money Tuesday at the Cannabis Business Summit in Denver in what an industry trade group is billing as a history making event. “Never before has a major-party presidential candidate held a reception at a cannabis industry event, and NCIA is proud to host Senator Paul,” the National Cannabis Industry Association said in an email promoting the event, which was firstreported by Yahoo News.

The minimum donation to attend the Tuesday event is $2,700, according to organizers.

Taylor West, the group’s deputy director, said the private “VIP reception” is designed to let marijuana insiders hear from Paul, who supports legislation to legalize medical marijuana and give the pot industry access to banking.

Why Republicans Are Slowly Embracing Marijuana

CALIFORNIA: After years of voting down almost every proposal championed by pot legalization advocates, the House made a surprising move this week, approving a measure that would prohibit the Drug Enforcement Administration from busting state-licensed medical marijuana operations.

The action in the GOP-dominated House reflected a continued shift in thinking on the issue for lawmakers in that party. In the end, 49 Republicans supported the bill. It was more than a dozen more GOP votes in support than when the measure was first proposed in 2002. It was also co-sponsored by a Republican, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach).

“Some people are suffering, and if a doctor feels he needs to prescribe something to alleviate that suffering, it is immoral for this government to get in the way,” Rohrabacher said during the floor debate. “And that is what is happening.” The measure passed with just one vote to spare, 219-189.

In NY GOP’s View On Pot Easing

NEW YORK: In another sign that momentum might be shifting on the issue of medical marijuana, a rising leader in the Western New York branch of the state Republican Party is calling for the passage of a bill that’s currently blocked in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Approval of the measure, contends Erie County GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy, would help with the party’s image among swing voters.

“There’s a stigma out there that we’re the ‘Party of No,'” Langworthy said Wednesday, adding that he’s been speaking to Republican state senators and prodding them to support the bill.

Mica Says D.C. Marijuana Decriminalization Creates Potential Conflict

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: House Republicans will single out the District’s marijuana decriminalization bill during a May 8 hearing of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations .

Witnesses from the D.C. Council, the National Park Service and the various law enforcement agencies with a footprint in the District will be invited to testify, according to Rep. John L. Mica, R-Fla., who holds the gavel on the subcommittee.

“It’s against federal law to do certain things on federal property, versus now the District is looking at a minimal penalty,” Mica told CQ Roll Call on Wednesday.

The bill, which could be law as soon as mid-July, would drop the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana from a criminal offense, which carries up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, down to a civil offense with a fine of $25. It would also reduce the maximum penalty for smoking marijuana from a $1,000 fine and six months in jail, down to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Make GOP End The Drug War

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Let’s assume that the New York Times was right this week when it asserted that in 2013, “the only issue that truly unites Republicans is a commitment to shrinking the federal government.”

Even though there’s ample evidence that the GOP doesn’t actually want to shrink the government, let’s nonetheless assume that Republicans are trying to rhetorically brand themselves to the concept of small government, past votes be damned. And let’s assume that gerrymandering means the GOP will control at least one house of congress for the remainder of the Obama presidency. [Read more…]

Chairman of Iowa Republican Party: Time To Legalize Medical Marijuana

IOWA:  Today the Republican Party stands at a crossroads. Not one of taxes or war or school choice or the issues that get far more media coverage, but a crossroads of moral conscience.

For most of us, medical marijuana isn’t a matter of life and death. For most of, this issue doesn’t concern us, doesn’t affect us and most likely never will. And that’s the problem. The Republican Party has allowed the focus to be placed on freedom as an ideal instead of freedom as an asset. [Read more…]