Marco Rubio says that, if elected president, he will crack down on states that have legalized marijuana. He plans to enforce federal law, which prohibits pot. Rubio has a long history speaking out against marijuana legalization (though he’s never said whether he’s used it). The recent comments came Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, when host Chuck Todd asked the Florida senator, via a Facebook user, what he thought about states legalizing marijuana.
“I believe the federal government needs to enforce federal law,” Rubio answered.
While Rubio said that he’s more open to medical marijuana being legalized, he indicated that it needs to go through FDA approval and that there would have to be proof it indeed has medical benefits. But Rubio made it clear he’s no fan of freedom to toke.
“I’m not in favor of legalizing marijuana,” he said. “I’m not. I never have been.”
At a campaign stop in New Hampshire earlier, someone posed a similar question. Again he reiterated that he’d enforce federal law in states that have legalized marijuana. “This country is already paying a significant price for illegal use of drugs and even alcohol,” he said.
While Rubio has repeated his belief in state rights, he has a history of saying marijuana being legalized by states doesn’t count.
“I think we need to enforce our federal laws,” he told radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt last year. “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.”
But Rubio has also been clear that he thinks getting high is bad and that it sends the wrong message to the youth of the nation.
“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,” he told Hewitt.
In May 2014, Rubio told Yahoo!that legalizing pot would be bad overall for the nation.
“The bottom line is, I believe that adding yet another mind-altering substance to something that’s legal is not good for the country. I understand there are people that have different views on it, but I feel strongly about that.”
In 2014, Rubio was asked straight-up by Fusion if he’s ever tried weed. He refused to answer.
“You know why I never answer that question? I’ll tell you why I never answer that question,” he said at the time. “If I tell you that I haven’t, you won’t believe me. And if I tell you that I did, then kids will look up to me and say, ‘Well, I can smoke marijuana, because look how he made it. He did all right, so I guess I can do it too.’”
In response to Rubio’s latest comments during Meet the Press, United for Care’s Ben Pollara said President Rubio would be going against what a majority of Floridians want.
“It’s unfortunate that Florida’s senior senator and leading Republican presidential contender, Marco Rubio, has taken a position in clear opposition to the rights of the states to determine their own course on marijuana laws,” Pollara said in an email. “As a Floridian, it seems to me Rubio is proactively telling our state that he doesn’t respect the will of the people. Can you imagine if a President Rubio sent federal agents to Florida to raid legal marijuana businesses and patients in the case that he became president and we passed a constitutional amendment?”