- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said Thursday he’s opposed to legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, tying the drug to the negative effects associated with alcohol abuse.

He said people ask him why, since he’s younger than other presidential candidates, he isn’t in favor of legalizing marijuana.

“And I say, well, because this country already pays a terrible price for the abuse of alcohol,” Mr. Rubio said at a campaign event in South Carolina. “We’re not going to outlaw alcohol. We’re not going to ban it. It’s part of our culture. It’s ingrained in our society — that’s not a realistic proposal.

“But no one can tell me that alcohol’s had a positive impact on society,” he said. “It destroys marriages and lives, it kills people … and now you want to add another intoxicant and make it legal?”

Mr. Rubio had been asked what he would do about drug use in the country.

“There’s no positive impact to using marijuana,” he said. “Now, if there’s a medicinal use — if you can go to the FDA and prove that it helps with medicine, that’s fine. Then turn it into medicine.”

He also pointed to heroin and prescription drug abuse, and called for greater awareness of what an opiate is, pushing pharmaceutical companies to develop better pain medications so people don’t become dependent on them, treating addiction as a disease, and securing the border to help combat the flow of drugs into the country.

“There is no responsible way to use cocaine,” he said. “There is no responsible way to smoke marijuana repeatedly. There’s nothing good about it. [If] there’s a medicinal use, go through the FDA process.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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