Rand Paul: We shouldn't jail people for pot use

Though, he said, "I think even marijuana is a bad thing to do"

Published March 24, 2013 2:56PM (EDT)

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said that though he opposes drug use, he thinks that the penalties are too harsh and, "I don't want to put them in jail and ruin their lives."

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Paul said that even the last two presidents used drugs at some point. "Look, the last two presidents could have conceivably been put in jail for their drug use and I really think - look what would've happened, it would've ruined their lives," he said. "They got lucky. But a lot of poor kids, particularly in the inner city, don't get lucky and they don't have good attorneys and they go to jail for some of these things and I think it's a big mistake."

Paul continued: "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," but, he added: “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 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," he said.

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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Barack Obama George W. Bush Marijuana Rand Paul War On Drugs