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Jeb Bush on Drugs

Republican FL Governor; V.P. prospect


Smoked pot & drank alcohol in late 1960s high school

In 1967, Jeb arrived on the bucolic campus of Phillips Academy in Andover. His father and his older brother George had both gone to Andover. But this Bush almost ran aground in those first, formative prep school days. He bore little resemblance to his father, a star on many fronts at Andover, and might have been an even worse student than brother George. Classmates said he smoked a notable amount of pot--as many did--and sometimes bullied smaller students.

Resolutely apolitical despite his lineage, a roommate said of Jeb that while other students "were constantly arguing about politics and particularly Vietnam, he just wasn't interested, he didn't participate, he didn't care."

Bush, in 2015, acknowledged breaking a series of rules. "I drank alcohol and I smoked marijuana when I was at Andover," Bush said, both of which could have led to expulsion. "It was pretty common." He said he had no recollection of bullying and said he was surprised to be perceived that way by some.

Source: Boston Globe profiles of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Feb 1, 2015

My high school drug use was "stupid" and "wrong"

[Jeb attended Phillips Andover]; in the fall of 1968, the 10th-grade students divided into cliques of "jocks, freaks, and zeros," as one classmate put it: and Bush, with his taste for marijuana and his skill at tennis, straddled the line between jock and freak, never comfortably in either group.

One of those who did get to know Bush was Peter Tibbetts, who said he smoked hashish--a cannabis product typically stronger than pot--in Jeb's dorm room. "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." Tibbetts said said he once bought hashish from Bush but stressed, "I was seeking the hash, 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."

Bush previously has acknowledged what he called his "stupid" and "wrong" use of marijuana. In the years since, he has opposed efforts to legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational use.

Source: Boston Globe profiles of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Feb 1, 2015

No medical marijuana; it's just a guise toward legalization

Jeb Bush is siding with opponents of an initiative on Florida's November election ballot to make medical marijuana legal, despite strong public support for its use as a treatment for debilitating illnesses.

Bush issued a statement saying the legalization of medical marijuana would hurt the state's family-friendly reputation: "Florida leaders and citizens have worked for years to make the Sunshine State a world-class location to start or run a business, a family-friendly destination for tourism and a desirable place to raise a family or retire," Bush said. "Allowing large-scale, marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter to all of these efforts," he added. "I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this November," he said.

20 states and the District of Columbia have some form of laws that permit the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, though they vary widely.

Source: David Adams on Reuters: "Jeb Bush joins opposition" , Aug 14, 2014

Illegal drugs moving over US-Mexico border has intensified

The movement of illegal drugs and weapons across the US-Mexican border has intensified. On the Mexican side of the border, full-scale war among paramilitary drug cartels has left 50,000 people dead over the past 6 years.

Given Mexico's inability to control the drug cartels and the massive drug market in the US, spillover effects are inevitable. The most vivid example is the horribly failed Operation Fast and Furious, in which weapons obtained from US authorities were linked to at least a dozen violent crimes in the US, including the death of a Border Patrol agent. Given that the cartels control an estimated 90% of the illegal drugs entering the US, their effects extend to American gangs, crime syndicates, and drug addicts.

Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush, p. 50-51 , Mar 5, 2013

Deploy military on both sides of the US-Mexican border

Fighting the drug cartels at the border may present a threat of potentially epic proportions, calling for a strong response. The cartels are paramilitary organizations with dangerous and sophisticated weaponry. Our Border Patrol officers are neither trained nor equipped to blunt the cartels' firepower if it comes to that. As a result, the president should be authorized to deploy military or National Guard forces if necessary to counter the cartels' threat and secure the US border.

Preferable to US military deployment would be efforts to increase the effectiveness of Mexican authorities in dealing with the cartels on their side of the border. US officials have worked closely with their Mexican counterparts, including the deployment of unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles and the opening of a compound to gather intelligence in northern Mexico. We should continue to work closely with Mexico to fight corruption in the police and military and to reduce the power of the drug cartel.

Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush, p. 53 , Mar 5, 2013

Funding to reduce teen substance abuse and tobacco use

Teen substance abuse, including tobacco, adds tremendous stress to families and limits the futures of Florida's youth. The latest studies show that we are making significant progress in the fight against drug abuse among students, and we will continue to press forward on that issue.

Florida has also had success reducing tobacco use among our young people. Since 1998, smoking rates have declined by 57 percent among middle school students and 37 percent among high school students.

Budget constraints put this important program in jeopardy last year. This year we need to make the program, and the funding to support, it a permanent part of Florida's Department of Health. This money is important, but the real power comes from thousands of teens across our state who recognize the dangers of smoking and encourage their peers not to start.

Source: 2004 State of the State speech to the Florida Legislature , Mar 2, 2004

Create a prescription drug tracking system to prevent abuse

Prescription drug abuse among adults in Florida is growing at an alarming pace, taking more lives than heroin and cocaine combined. We first noticed this trend three years ago and have been trying to take the innovative, common sense action to halt it ever since.

This year, once again, you will have the opportunity to create a prescription drug tracking system that will allow us to punish unethical providers, prevent addicts from obtaining the drugs they abuse, and protect the privacy of patients in Florida. I urge you to pass legislation to define this system, fund its creation, and help us fight prescription drug abuse in Florida.

Source: 2004 State of the State speech to the Florida Legislature , Mar 2, 2004

Opposed treatment instead of jail for nonviolent drug users

Gov. Jeb Bush calls for jail time for nonviolent drug offenders as his daughter gets sent to rehab. I feel nothing but sympathy and concern for Noelle Bush--caught with crack cocaine at a drug rehab center. As a parent, I am in total agreement with Jeb Bush's insistence that his daughter's substance-abuse problem is "a private issue."

While Noelle has been given every break in the book--and then some--her father has made it harder for others in her position to get the help they need by cutting the budgets of drug treatment and drug court programs in his state. He has also actively opposed a proposed ballot initiative that would send an estimated 10,000 nonviolent drug offenders into treatment instead of jail.

Jeb's inconsistent attitude on the issue--treatment and privacy for his daughter, incarceration and public humiliation for everyone else--is part and parcel of the galling hypocrisy that infects America's insane drug war on every level.

Source: Arianna Huffington column on Salon.com, "War on Drugs" , Sep 16, 2002

Mandatory prison sentences for drug offenses

Source: Governorís web site, www.MyFlorida.com, ďInitiativesĒ , Nov 7, 2001

Reduce drug use by 50% by prevention & enforcement

One of the most serious challenges our state faces is the scourge of drugs. This insidious problem will not be righted in a single day or even over the course of a year. Indeed, it will take a concerted and continuous effort.

[My Drug Control Strategy] reflects our will and determination to reverse the years of lost human, social, and economic potential wrought by the illegal drug trade and to bring down appreciably the numbers of our citizens caught in the grip of drug abuse My administration is determined to reduce drug use in Florida by 50%. This ambitious goal can only be achieved with the commitment of our efforts and resources on many fronts-in awareness, prevention, treatment, and law enforcement.

Most of all, it will take leadership to coordinate and direct a balanced approach to lowering both the demand for and the supply of drugs. This has been and remains one of my foremost priorities.

Source: Drug Control Strategy 1999; Introductory Letter , Jul 2, 1999

More federal funding for all aspects of Drug War.

Bush adopted the National Governors Association policy:

Source: NGA policy HR-13: Combating and Controlling Substance Abuse 00-NGA2 on Aug 15, 2000

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Page last updated: Aug 16, 2015