4 GOP Presidential Hopefuls Who Admitted They Smoked Weed

They may not want to legalize it, but some of them have certainly enjoyed it.

Photo Credit: www.facebook.com/jebbush/photos

The next presidential election is still more than a year and a half away, but the field of Republican contenders for the nomination is already crowded. One of the issues they will be dealing with is marijuana legalization. That raises the question: Who among the field has toked up?

And that raises another question: Will these Republicans who admit (or coyly don't deny) smoking weed come out in favor of legalizing it? It's not exactly a part of the Republican platform, but the issue isn't going away.

Here are four potential Republican presidential contenders who almost certainly smoked weed—either by their own admission, by their non-denials, or according to others.

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1. Jeb Bush

The former first brother and Florida governor told The Boston Globe last month that he hit the pot pipe while in prep school and it was no big deal. "I drank alcohol and I smoked marijuana when I was at Andover," he said. "It was pretty common."

Bush's Andover classmate Peter Tibbetts added some color. Tibbetts told the Globe the first time he smoked pot was with Bush in the woods near their dorm at Phillips Academy in Andover. He added that he and Bush listened to "Magic Carpet Ride" in Bush's dorm room while smoking hash. "The first time I really got stoned was in Jeb’s room," Tibbetts said. "He had a portable stereo with removable speakers. He put on Steppenwolf for me."

2. Ted Cruz

The Texas senator most often mistaken for a particularly unctuous undertaker has puffed the magic dragon, too. He hasn't said so himself, but his staff has. And they're very, very sorry on his behalf.

"Teenagers are often known for their lack of judgment, and Sen. Cruz was no exception," a Cruz spokesman told the British tabloid The Daily Mail. "When he was a teenager, he foolishly experimented with marijuana. It was a mistake, and he's never tried it since."

Cruz's campaign later confirmed those remarks to The Hill.

3. Rand Paul

The junior senator from Kentucky has been quick to criticize Jeb Bush for opposing medical marijuana and sentencing reform after Bush revealed he'd been a stoner, but he hasn't been so quick to come clean on his own use, instead resorting to coy deflections and playing the "mistake" card.

"Let’s just say I wasn’t a choir boy when I was in college and that I can recognize that kids make mistakes, and I can say that I made mistakes when I was a kid," Paul told The Washington Times in December.

But one of his frat buddies was more forthright. "Randy smoked pot," William Hill told Politico in 2010.

And then there was the bizarre episode of the Aqua Buddha, an entity reportedly worshiped by a campus group to which Paul belonged. GQ reported in 2010 that Paul and Hill prankishly abducted a woman student who was on the swim team with Paul. "He and Randy came to my house, they knocked on my door, and they blindfolded me, tied me up, and put me in their car. They took me to their apartment and tried to force me to take bong hits. They'd been smoking," said the woman, who wished to remain anonymous.

"They told me their god was Aqua Buddah and I needed to bow down and worship him," she recalled. "They blindfolded me and made me bow down to Aqua Budda in the creek."

4. Marco Rubio

The junior senator from Florida won't say whether he has passed the Dutchie, repeatedly calling such queries "irrelevant." And besides, no one believes what he says on the topic anyway, he claimed.

"If I tell you that I haven’t, you won’t believe me. And if I tell you that I did, then kids will look up to me and say, 'Well, I can smoke marijuana because look how he made it. He did alright so I guess I can do it too,'" he told The Hill. "And the bottom line is that it is a substance that alters your mind. Now when I was 17 and 18 and 16, I made dumb decisions as is. I didn’t need the help of marijuana or alcohol to further that."

But the senator wasn't 17 or 18 last year, when he used the occasion of a Senate filibuster to quote lyrics from the notoriously pot-friendly rapper Wiz Khalifa.


Phillip Smith has been a drug policy journalist for the past two decades. Smith is currently a senior writing fellow at the Independent Media Institute