Jeb Bush admitted he smoked pot in high school, an acknowledgment that came amid a debate over legalizing marijuana.
He said his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, would not be happy to hear him admit it on television.
Bush notes that he opposed a medical marijuana ballot measure in Florida because there were too many "loopholes" in the bill.
He said there is a "serious epidemic" of drugs in the U.S. and is pushing for more treatment and prevention programs.
But he said state laws legalizing the drug should stand.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Bush has a double standard.
While poorer people go to jail for marijuana possession, Paul said, richer users escape punishment.
He said, "America needs to take a different attitude."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said his state is the first in the nation that requires mandatory drug treatment for non-violent offenders.
He repeated his assertion that the "war on drugs has been a failure," but said, "that doesn't mean we should be legalizing gateway drugs."
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