Jeb Bush used marijuana when he attended prep school in the late '60s and early '70s. Yet he opposed a voter initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Florida in 2014. His likely presidential rival for the Republican nomination, Sen. Rand Paul, considers this the height of hypocrisy.
“You would think he’d have a little more understanding then,” Paul tells The Hill. “Had he been caught at Andover, he’d have never been governor, he’d probably never have a chance to run for the presidency."
In a lengthy feature article in the Boston Globe, Bush admits, “I drank alcohol and I smoked marijuana when I was at Andover. It was pretty common.”
Bush went to the elite Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts (25 north of Boston) from 1967-1971. In the article, fellow student Peter Tibbetts says the first time he ever smoked marijuana was with Bush "in the woods near Pemberton Cottage." A few weeks later, they smoked hash in Bush's dorm room.
'The first time I really got stoned was in Jeb’s room,' Tibbetts says. 'He had a portable stereo with removable speakers. He put on Steppenwolf for me.'
The song was "Magic Carpet Ride." Tibbetts adds that he subsequently purchased hash from Bush. “It wasn’t as if he was a dealer, though he did suggest I take up cigarettes so that I could hold my hits better, after that first joint.”
"It was a difficult time for me," Bush explains. "I was 14 when I left Houston to go to Andover and it was a very cynical time. The school for all sorts of reasons in the early '70s was cynical, not the same way it is now. It was a very Darwinian place.”
Bush has since called his teenaged marijuana use wrong and stupid.
Paul pulls no punches when he charges about Bush: "Hypocrisy is, ‘Hey I did it and it’s OK for me because I was rich and at an elite school but if you’re poor and black or brown and live in a poor section of one of our big cities, we’re going to put you in jail and throw away the key… This is a guy who now admits he smoked marijuana but he wants to put people in jail who do. I think that’s the real hypocrisy, is that people on our side, which include a lot of people, who made mistakes growing up, admit their mistakes but now still want to put people in jail for that."