What Does Rick Santorum Think About Weed?

by April Siese

Rick Santorum is running for president yet again. The 2016 hopeful may be hedging his bets more toward his humble beginnings and the working class but, for the most part, Santorum is staying relatively close to his 2012 presidential election message of conservatism. Santorum's views on marijuana presumably haven't changed since the previous presidential election cycle, either. Though he has admitted to smoking pot in college, he says he's "not proud" of his actions. However, he does consider the experience an educational one, so to speak. Santorum said in a 2011 National Review article:

I smoked pot when I was in college. Does that mean that I can’t talk about drug use? Does that mean that I can’t talk about how that’s a bad thing? Of course not. You learn from those experiences. ... If you knew what was going on, and most people do, you have moments of weakness. It happens to all of us. But that should not deter people from talking about what they believe is right.

What Santorum believes is right is a country that abstains from marijuana use. Santorum is strongly opposed to all drugs and his voting record reflects as much. When he was still a senator in Pennsylvania, Santorum voted to increase spending on drug control as well as beef up penalties against those convicted of drug offenses.

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The most forthright and the most recent statement Santorum has made regarding his stance on weed — aside from his admission of smoking and regretting it in college — has been his thoughts on Colorado's legalization of marijuana. Unsurprisingly, it's not something he supports. Santorum treats the state's legalization as a matter of undermining federal law as well as going directly against his anti-drug views. Santorum said:

I think Colorado is violating the federal law. And if we have controlled substances, they’re controlled substances for a reason. The federal law is there for a reason, and the states shouldn’t have the option to violate federal law. As Abraham Lincoln said, you know, states don’t have the right to wrong.
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Santorum joins Ted Cruz as a fellow GOP candidate who's not only tried pot and regretted it but staunchly opposes its legalization, though Cruz is a little more lenient on the state versus federal issue. Cruz appears to support Colorado by principle, as does Rick Perry, who also takes a more progressive stance on penalties for drug offenses. Nonetheless, marijuana will continue to be a hot-button issue heading into the election as Colorado continues to navigate the murky waters of legalization and other states potentially look to follow suit.

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