Rand Paul Represents Move in Right Direction for Legalization
April 7th, 2015
Policy, Top News
Rand Paul may not be quite as Libertarian as his father, Ron Paul, when it comes to the legalization of marijuana (the latter called for the full decriminalization of marijuana back in 2012), but his stance on the drug is a bit more liberal than many other presidential candidates in the 2016 race.
Sen. Paul opposes the legalization of marijuana on a federal level, but indicated a strong desire to relax punishments for those who possess pot.
“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,” said Sen. Paul Fox News interview. “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 bit mistake.”
Sen. Paul teamed up with Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt. to introduce the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, which would give judges greater flexibility in sentencing federal crimes where a mandatory minimum punishment might be considered too harsh.
Avoiding some of the more extreme libertarian positions may make the younger Sen. Paul more palatable for Republican voters than his father. The focus on reducing harsh penalties for marijuana use and eliminating federal prosecution for medical marijuana patients – another reform he helped push forward – represent a clear view towards a more moderate solution over time.
In contrast, most other Republicans continue to stay away from the issue altogether, saying that it’s a state’s rights issue. These candidates are unlikely to resolve the many problems stemming from marijuana and could make matters worse by leaving the problems in place and the regulatory environment uncertain.
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