I can smoke, but you can’t.
That’s the message being sent by Florida Republican Sen. Mark Rubio, an opponent of decriminalizing marijuana, who refused to answer questions about his own pot use Monday.
At an education forum in Miami, Sen. Rubio brushed off a question about medical marijuana, which Florida residents will vote on in November. His answer left open the question of whether he smoked weed.
“I’ll tell you why I never answer that question,” the Florida Republican told a talk show host. ”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.’”
But that was only the beginning of his response. The senator kept on, as summed up by Warren Rojas of Roll Call:
His “Reefer Madness”-style prognosticating picked up speed from there, zigzagging from the past — “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,” he shared — to the present (“The bottom line is that it is a substance that alters your mind”) and even off into the future — “When you go interview for that job, and that thing pops up in your background check that you got arrested for something dumb, they don’t look at you and say, ‘Ahh, you were just 17.’ There are people who won’t get hired because of that stuff,” he counseled — almost as if the junior Florida senator had gotten used to slipping in and out of the time-space continuum at will.
Rubio elicited a few chuckles whilst raising alarms about how getting pinched for pot might burn bridges further down the road.
“There are bars that will give you a tough — not drinking bars, legal bars, the Florida bar — that won’t let you [in] because of those issues,” Rubio warned aspiring attorneys.
Rubio finally told the reporter: “The answer to your question is: at this point, it’s irrelevant.”