Ted Cruz on Drugs
Given the undeniable costs and dubious benefits of mass, longterm incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders, Congress should take steps to give judges more flexibility in sentencing those offenders. The Smarter Sentencing Act of 2015, which was introduced by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), and of which I am an original cosponsor, is a significant stride in that direction. Among other things, the bill lowers minimum sentences, cutting them in half, to give judges more flexibility in determining the appropriate sentence based on the unique facts and circumstances of each case.
Those remarks contradict Cruz's previous position, when he criticized the Obama administration for failing to aggressively enforce the federal ban on marijuana in states that have legalized the drug. In January 2014, he described the Justice Department's prosecutorial restraint, which is designed to respect state policy choices, as an abuse of executive power.
Cruz's apparent turnaround reflects a political reality: Cruz's calibration is the easiest way to strike the balance between younger, more tolerant GOP voters and social conservatives.
The conference is a chance for potential presidential candidates to stake out ground for 2016 and marijuana could be prime turf. Cruz has expressed openness to changing marijuana laws in the past. At a January 2014 event in Texas, he said there are "some reasonable arguments on that issue." But he also blasted the president for ignoring federal drug laws and allowing residents in Colorado and Washington to carry out their marijuana policies. "Mind you these are criminal laws," Cruz said. "These are laws that say if you do 'X, Y, and Z' you will go to prison. The president announced, 'No, you won't.'"
"Teenagers are often known for their lack of judgment, and Sen. Cruz was no exception," one of Mr. Cruz's campaign spokesman told The Daily Mail. "When he was a teenager, he foolishly experimented with marijuana. It was a mistake, and he's never tried it since."
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