Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has risen to fame over the past few months by blending old school GOP principles with new school Libertarian views on how much power the government should have.
This week, appearing on Fox News Sunday, Paul put his unique (for a mainstream Republican politician, at least) ideology on full display when he delved into the issue of marijuana.
“I don't want to promote that but I also don't want to put people in jail who make a mistake," Paul said. "There are a lot of young people who do this and then later on in their twenties they grow up and get married and they quit doing things like this. I don't want to put them in jail and ruin their lives."
While some of his more ardent pro-legalization supporters will probably quibble with the characterization of marijuana use as a mistake, Paul’s point was that the punishment for these minor offenses doesn’t fit the crime.
“There are people in jail for 37, 50, 45 years for nonviolent crimes and that’s a huge mistake. Our prisons are full of non-violent criminals. I don’t want to encourage people to do it. I think even marijuana is a bad thing to do. I think it takes away your incentive to work and show up and do the things that you should be doing. I don’t think that it’s a good idea.”
In an effort to illustrate his point, Paul noted that both Barack Obama and George W. Bush had a history of some sort of drug use.
"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," Paul added. "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 big mistake."
You can check out Paul’s thoughts on the matter in the video below.