The Problem of the Jeb Bush Drug Use Story

Conservatives cannot ignore the Jeb Bush drug use problem.

Marijuana & Cash

The Boston Globe ran a story about Jeb Bush’s time in Andover College. It involves reports about his marijuana use, including his selling of the drug to friends.

One of those who did get to know Bush in these early days was Peter Tibbetts. The connection, he said, was pot. The first time Tibbetts smoked marijuana, he said, was with Bush and a few other classmates in the woods near Pemberton Cottage. Then, a few weeks later, Tibbetts said he smoked hashish — a cannabis product typically stronger than pot — in Jeb’s dormitory 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.” As the rock group’s signature song, Magic Carpet Ride, blared from the speakers, Tibbetts said he smoked hash with Bush. He said he once bought hashish from Bush but stressed, in a follow-up e-mail, “Please bear in mind that 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, after that 1st joint.”

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.

And again:

Bush, in an interview for this story, recalled it as one of the most difficult times of his life, while acknowledging that he made it harder by initially 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.”

I am not angry with Jeb Bush about his drug use. I don’t hold it against him in any moral way. I’m glad he took advantage of all his many advantages and took on adult responsibilities rather than continuing to get high.

But what am I supposed to think of a man who is going to advocate sending youths to prison for doing exactly what he did? He will not only advocate it but he will assign officers in high places to prosecute and jail those young men.

Of course, I’m pretty sure that the millionaires’ sons and daughters at Andover College and other prestigious schools will never really have to worry about being stuck on the inside of a jail cell. Basically, Jeb Bush is running for office so that he can lock up minorities who use drugs.

And I’m glad Jeb wasn’t a dealer. But you and I know that a prosecutor would charge someone for dealing if anyone made such a transaction in hash.

So we’re basically being asked to elect someone to office to put people in prison. Jeb got to hold lucrative positions in business and to hold office in politics while those who never have those likely prospects face jail time for the same behavior.

[See also, “Cancer Patients Prosecuted for Marijuana because… Butter.”]

Granted, Jeb Bush’s college criminality doesn’t seem as serious as Tim Geithner’s tax cheating that happened much more recently before he was appointed to the office that would deal with tax cheats. But I don’t want Geithner to set the standards here. And our current president also has a history of drug use. But I didn’t want him to hold the office either.

I just don’t like Jeb Bush getting a pass on an activity that he wants to jail other people for. It seems hypocritical.