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Why Marco Rubio won't say if he smoked pot: the Dade County boy probably did


At least Bill Clinton said he didn't inhale.

But Marco Rubio? Well, he wouldn't say yesteday if he had smoked pot or not.

My guess: He had. Even Jeb Bush, Rubio's one-time mentor, admitted he had smoked pot as a youth.

The first tell: Rubio sounded like he was pleading the Fifth Amendment when he was asked about the issue at a National Journal forum in Miami. His evasions aside, it's noteworthy that the 42 year-old grew up in pot-friendly Miami-Dade County. Drugs are so prevalent here that, when Rubio was a teen, his brother-in-law got busted in a cocaine-dealing case. This is not to confuse cocaine with marijuana -- the former is far worse -- or to say Rubio ever pulled a Trey Radel (my guess is that he hadn't). 

Also, when Rubio was 21, Dr. Dre dropped "The Chronic," one of the most-influential rap albums of all time that marks a major milestone in the long road of mainstreaming marijuana. Yet this longtime fan of rap never toked? C'mon. And Rubio's autobiography, American Son, mentions how he once went to a South Beach foam-party rave at one point. So maybe we should add ecstacy (now called "Molly" by the young-ins) to our list of drugs to ask about. 

Judging by Rubio's rambling answer to the question about decriminalizing marijuana or legalizing it for medical reasons, it doesn't appear he was prepared for it:

You know why I never answer that question? I’ll tell you why I never answer that question. 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, ‘cause look how he made it. He did all right, so I guess I can do it, too.” And the bottom line is that it is a substance that alters your mind. 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. … And I know I’m sounding like a 42-year-old dad, but … Here’s the problem: You can make mistakes at 17 that will be with you the rest of your life, OK? 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, “Ah, you were just 17.” There are people that won’t get hired because of that stuff. … And that’s the problem with that question. So the answer to your question is, at this point, it’s irrelevant.

Actually, it's not irrelevant. Florida voters will decide in November whether to legalize marijuana for medical purposes (that was the point of departure for the question about Rubio's past drug use). As a statewide elected official who often opines about politics, Rubio's personal experience matters.

Indeed, Rubio believes his own story is so important that he wrote an entire book about it.

And last week, after CVS announced it wouldn't sell tobacco, Rubio weighed in on Twitter with this relevant thought: "Many of the same people applauding #CVS for not selling tobacco are ok with making it easier to buy and smoke pot. #makesnosense."

Here's what does make sense: A Republican conservative talking in circles to avoid telling the truth about getting high.