Jeb Bush Defends Decriminalization of Cannabis on Public Radio

Presidential canndidate Jeb Bush announced Friday on WBZ News Radio that he now endorses the decriminalization of marijuana — though he still opposes nationwide legalization.

But Bush also said that despite his personal misgivings, he supports the right of states to legalize marijuana, saying states should be free to legislate on the issue without federal interference. “This is clearly gonna be a state issue, not a federal issue,” he said in the interview.

Bush defended his position against legalization, linking marijuana to opiate addiction. “Marijuana is a gateway drug, just as opiates are a gateway drug,” he said. “The new heroin and the new marijuana are highly, highly toxic.”

This position isn’t just talk. Bush voted against legalization for medical purposes in his home state of Florida in 2014. He claims that studies prove marijuana is a gateway drug.

But studies, including one done by the Institute of Medicine, show the opposite to be true: there is no conclusive evidence that marijuana use is linked to future illicit drug abuse.

Though he clearly supports continued prohibition, a Republican candidate now officially supports nation-wide decriminalization — which may be signs of a maturing political environment.

Photo Credit: John Pemble

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