On this weekend’s broadcast of “Fox News Sunday,” Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul said punishments for marijuana-related crimes should be reduced, citing President Barack Obama’s reported drug use as a reason to look past certain minor indiscretions.
“The main thing I’ve said is not to legalize them, but not to incarcerate people for extended periods of times,” Paul said. “I’m working with Sen. [Patrick] Leahy — we have a bill on mandatory minimums. There are people in jail for 37, 50, 45 years for nonviolent crimes. That is a huge mistake. Our prisons are full of nonviolent criminals.”
Paul admitted legalization would encourage marijuana use, which he said has negative effects.
“I don’t want to encourage people to do it,” Paul said. “I think even marijuana is bad to do. I think it takes away your incentive to work and show up and do the things you should be doing. I don’t think it is a good idea. I don’t want to promote that, but I also don’t want to put people in jail who make a mistake. There are a lot of young people who do this and later on in their 20s. They grow up, get married and quit doing things like this, and I don’t want to put them in jail and ruin their lives.”
“The last two presidents could conceivably have been put in jail for their drug use, and I really think — look what would have happened,” he continued. “It would have ruined their lives. They got lucky but, 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 is a big mistake.”