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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Rand Paul wants to let ex-cons vote, reduce drug offenses

    Rand Paul wants to let ex-cons vote, reduce drug offenses

    By Sean Cockerham
    McClatchy Washington Bureau

    Published: Tuesday, Jul. 22, 2014 - 1:47 pm


    WASHINGTON -- Calling the criminal justice system “the largest impediment to both voting and employment in our country,” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul wants to restore voting rights to nonviolent felons and reduce many drug crimes down to misdemeanors.

    Paul, a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2016, said he has a friend whose brother grew marijuana plants 30 years ago at college.


    “He must have been pretty successful because he got a felony conviction for whatever he was growing,” Paul said Tuesday at a voting rights forum at the Capitol.


    Paul said the guy still can’t vote in Kentucky, three decades later.


    And he’s forced to check a box saying “convicted felon,” whenever filling out a job application, Paul said, making his chances of landing the job questionable.


    Paul has a bill to restore the federal voting rights for nonviolent felons after they’ve served their time. He called it “the biggest problem of voting rights facing our country.”


    “The biggest thing preventing people from voting is the overcriminalization that’s come through the war on drugs,” he said.


    Paul also said that some drug offenses should become misdemeanors.

    He pointed to a recent U.S. Sentencing Commission decision to reduce the jail terms for nonviolent drug traffickers, and advocated going further and making such crimes no longer felonies.


    “Take some of these minor, nonviolent crimes, we have a couple dozen of them, most of them are drug possession or sale, and make them misdemeanors,” Paul said


    “They’d still be against the law, they still may have jail sentences, but then you wouldn’t get trapped into the idea of either needing to get your voting rights back or needing to get your record expunged,” he said.


    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/22/657...#storylink=cpy


    http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/22/657...unishment.html
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Asked about marijuana, Rand Paul says 'I made mistakes'

    Published December 05, 2014 Associated Press

    Sept. 26, 2014: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaks in Washington. (AP)

    HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul hinted in an interview Friday that he smoked marijuana in his youth, adding that voters should not confuse his push for reduced criminal penalties for drug offenses as an endorsement of drug use.

    Paul, who announced plans this week to seek re-election to the Senate in 2016 and is actively exploring whether to run for president, said he "wasn't a choir boy" when asked by Louisville television station WHAS if he had used marijuana while in college.


    "Let's just say I wasn't a choir boy when I was in college and that I can recognize that kids make mistakes, and I can say that I made mistakes when I was a kid," Paul said in an interview broadcast Friday night.


    "I think drugs, marijuana included, aren't good for you," Paul said. "I don't want to be someone who is seen as being this person advocating for drug use. I think they're not a good idea."


    The recreational use of marijuana is legal in two states and voters in two more plus the District of Columbia have approved measures to join them.

    Paul told a group of law students at Northern Kentucky University last month he would not support lifting the federal ban on marijuana use, but said he did not want the federal government to try and overturn state laws that have made the drug legal.


    Paul told WHAS he has focused on reducing criminal penalties for some nonviolent drug offenses, which he said have been administered unfairly and disproportionally impact the nation's minorities.


    He noted that the past three presidents "either admitted or skirted around the issue" of using illegal drugs in their youth.


    "If they had been poor or lived in poverty or lived in one of our big cities where there are a lot of (police) patrols, there's a good chance none of them would have ever excelled," Paul said. "So I have a great deal of personal sympathy for people who have made mistakes as a young person."


    Paul said in the interview a decision on whether to run for president was still months away. However, he said any potential presidential campaign would include Jesse Benton, his 2010 Senate campaign manager, who resigned from Sen. Mitch McConnell's re-election campaign earlier this year after an Iowa state senator pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from Paul's father's 2012 presidential campaign.


    Benton, who served as former Rep. Ron Paul's campaign manager in 2012, has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged. In that case, former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorensen allegedly accepted thousands of dollars to switch his support to Ron Paul before the 2012 Iowa caucuses and lied to federal investigators about the money.


    "Jesse is married to my niece and was a big help in the Kentucky election here in 2010 and a big help for Sen. McConnell. Yes, he'll help us," Rand Paul said, adding he did not think Benton "did anything wrong."

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014...cmp=latestnews

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