U.S.: Presidential Candidate Rubio Wants To Enforce Federal Law In Marijuana States
By Steve Elliott
Prospective candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination continued their baffling verbal assault on cannabis this week, as Florida Senator Marco Rubio joined Chris Christie in pledging a federal crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana.
Asked by radio host Hugh Hewitt if he would "enforce the federal drug laws and shut down the marijuana trade," Rubio answered: "I think, well, I think we need to enforce our federal laws. Now do states have a right to do what they want? They don’t agree with it, but they have their rights. But they don’t have a right to write federal policy as well…
"I don’t believe we should be in the business of legalizing additional intoxicants in this country for the primary reason that when you legalize something, what you’re sending a message to young people is it can’t be that bad, because if it was that bad, it wouldn’t be legal," said Rubio, revealing his distressingly murky thought process around the subject.
"In addition to enforcing the rest of the Controlled Substances Act, U.S. Attorneys are still pursuing marijuana cases in Colorado and Washington, just not in a way that shuts down the state-legal industry," said Jacob Sullum at Reason. "Rubio apparently opposes that policy of prosecutorial forbearance."
Rubio seems a little unsure of his stance on states' rights; as a conservative, Tea Party Republican, he's "supposed" to support them, and in fact his spokesman Alex Conant told Politico back in January, "Of course, states can make decisions about what laws they wish to apply within their own borders."
"That’s a significantly more declarative statement than Rubio’s 'states rights are wonderful but' formulation on Hewitt’s show," drily noted Matt Purple at Rare.
Rubio has consistently stated that his personal preference is that marijuana not be legalized or decriminalized, reports Purple, "though he does understand the need for medical marijuana in limited instances." He refuses to even say whether he's ever tried cannabis himself.
Photo of a perplexed Sen. Marco Rubio: Mother Jones