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The GOP presidential hopeful stopped by CBS' "The Late Show" three days after his state rejected a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana. The ballot measure would have allowed the use of recreational and medical marijuana in the state, but would only have let 10 producers grow and sell it commercially, thus drawing opposition from some marijuana advocates.
"The problem is we have a huge drug crisis in this country," Kasich said.
"Is that really pot that's the drug crisis?" Colbert countered. "Lots of people are going to jail for minor infractions and it ruins their entire life."
"We don't do that in Ohio. We don't even want serious drug addicts to be locked in prison for their rest of their lives. We treat them and we pass them off to the community," Kasich said. "The problem with marijuana is this: We don't want to tell our kids, 'Don't do drugs, but by the way, this drug's okay.'"
"Isn't that what alcohol is?" Colbert replied.
"We don't need to take the approach where we send a confusing and mixed message to our children," he said.
When asked by Colbert if he had smoked marijuana before, Kasich said he had -- and was never caught by the police.
"If you had been caught smoking marijuana and had it on your record, would you be the governor of Ohio right now?" Colbert asked.
"Maybe," Kasich said. "If I got you to come out and campaign for me."
"What I mean is it ruins a life to have that police record because you can't get a job."
"We don't want to put people in prison," Kasich said, pointing to Ohio's program expunging the records of non-violent offenders. "I don't want to ruin anybody's life... We don't want to be in a position to demonize people, I just don't want to legalize drugs."