Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, stated today that President Obama and former President Bush “got lucky” that they weren’t arrested as young adults, a time when both admit they consumed cannabis.
The statement came during public testimony for a new bill being sponsored by Senator Paul and Senator Leahy, which would end most federal mandatory minimums for non-violent drug related offenses.
After the hearing, Paul told Fox News, “Look, the last two presidents could conceivably have been put in jail for their drug use….Look what would have happened. It would have ruined their lives. They got lucky. But a lot of poor kids, particularly in the inner city, don’t get lucky. They don’t have good attorneys. They go to jail for these things. And I think it’s a big mistake.”
Paul couldn’t be more correct: A cannabis charge for either of these individuals would have not only destroyed their chances of becoming president, but it could have deterred any possibility they had of getting good employment opportunities: They may have been kicked out of their respective college, as well, or at least been denied any potential grants or loans they were receiving.
More importantly, the social stigma that would have been attached with such a charge for either Bush or Obama would have led to the end of their political careers, before they even began.
But, alas, as Paul states, both were lucky – to say the least – that they were never arrested or charged for their cannabis consumption. Roughly 800,000 people annually, however, aren’t so lucky, and are arrested for simple cannabis possession, and charged with a conviction that could haunt them forever.
Despite being so lucky, both Obama and Bush stand behind the perpetual drug war, which causes millions to lose basic opportunities over their use of a non-lethal plant that clearly didn’t stop either of them from reaching the highest office is the land.