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How Does Rand Paul Feel About Weed Legalization?

Since taking office in 2010, Rand Paul has repeatedly said he is not the same politician as his libertarian father, Ron Paul. One prime example is the case of marijuana legalization. While young voters were excited about the senior Paul’s call to fully decriminalize marijuana in 2012, the junior senator from Kentucky — and, as of Tuesday morning, 2016 presidential candidate — has taken a more conservative approach. Though Rand Paul says no to marijuana legalization, what he is interested in doing is relaxing punishments for people who possess pot.

Paul’s stance on legal weed goes a step further than his Republican peers, such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who have primarily framed legalization as a states’ rights issue. While Paul has said the issue of legalization should be kept out of federal hands, he also has been more vocal about flaws in the war on drugs, saying current laws have unnecessarily burdened the country’s prison system by putting nonviolent criminals away for decades and usually at high costs. The average annual cost of incarcerating a federal inmate was roughly $28,000 in 2011. For states and cities, that number can skyrocket, with places like New York paying $168,000 for each inmate in 2012.

Last month, Paul, along with Democratic Sens. Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand, unveiled a drug reform package that would eliminate federal prosecution for patients whose states have legalized medical marijuana. Paul has also pushed to legalize hemp, a less potent version of cannabis, for economic reasons, saying it could create a new market for crops, health food, oil, and apparel.

But when it comes to his personal views on marijuana, Paul stands firm at no. In an interview with Fox News last March, he said marijuana was “a bad thing to do” because he believed it took away people’s incentives to work and be productive. He shifted the discussion back to decriminalizing marijuana and pointed to past presidents as prime examples for why the government shouldn’t issue decades-long sentences for nonviolent crimes.

Look, the last two presidents could conceivably have been put in jail for their drug use, and I really think, you know, look what would have happened, it would have ruined their lives. They got lucky, but a lot of poor kids, particularly in the inner city, don’t get lucky. They don’t have good attorneys, and they go to jail for these things and I think it’s a big mistake.

In 2010, GQ claimed that during Paul’s two-and-a-half years at Baylor University — the politician admittedly dropped out after he was admitted to Duke Medical School — a young “Randy” allegedly smoked pot with fellow members of a secret society of pranksters. Paul never acknowledged the claims made by the men’s magazine. But with 46 percent of Americans supporting marijuana’s full legalization, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, and as the race ramps up in coming months, Paul may be even more willing to modify his marijuana stance. After all, his relaxed drug views could help distinguish him from other Republican presidential hopefuls in what will certainly be a crowded field.

Since taking office in 2010, Rand Paul has repeatedly said he is not the same politician as his libertarian father, Ron Paul. One prime example is the case of marijuana legalization. While young voters were excited about the senior Paul’s call to…

Ron Paul says Sessions should step down after marijuana decision

Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said on Saturday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions Jefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAlabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby’s future Tuberville incorrectly says Gore was president-elect in 2000 Next attorney general must embrace marijuana law reforms MORE should resign from his post after reversing an Obama-era policy that paved the way for states to legalize recreational marijuana.

“He represents something that is so un-American as far as I’m concerned,” Paul, a one-time GOP presidential candidate, said on CNN’s “Smerconish.” “The war on drugs is a war on liberty.”

He said that the federal government does not have the right to “regulate the sale of drugs,” and that doing so is “constitutionally questionable.”

Paul, who describes himself as a libertarian, has long called for an end to the federal prohibition of marijuana.

His comments on Saturday came days after Sessions rescinded the so-called Cole memo, which discouraged federal prosecutors from bringing marijuana-related charges in states where it had been legalized.

Paul said that the Obama administration made the right move in allowing states to pursue legalization of recreational pot without federal interference. On the other hand, Sessions’s decision, he said, violated civil liberties “wholesale.”

“Usually I don’t ever get involved in these personality squabbles, but this is one major setback,” he said. “Obama did something decent there. He backed off and I thought that was a good move. And Sessions wants to reverse that.”

Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, and dozens have approved the use of medical marijuana. The substance remains federally prohibited and is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance, in the same category as heroin and LSD.

Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said on Saturday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should resign from his post after reversing an Obama-era policy that paved the way for states to legalize recreational marijuana. ]]>