Taking a page from former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's failed campaign playbook at a recent event in Charleston, South Carolina, Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio repeated the often debunked claim that marijuana is more carcinogenic than tobacco.

Rubio was responding to a question from a 79-year-old woman from South Carolina named Elease Pickens, who suggested cannabis was already easily obtainable for residents of Charleston and therefore, might as well be legalized and taxed.

"I would like to see marijuana legalized for this reason, people who live in Charleston can get drugs on any street corner. We could collect tax if they were legal."

Rubio responded that legalizing would send the wrong message, and then he made the false claim about the carcinogenic properties of marijuana.

"This country already pays a terrible price for alcohol and alcohol abuse, not just in health costs, traffic accidents, broken marriages, and ruined lives. When you legalize something, you're sending the message that it's not that harmful. The fact of the matter is that it is harmful. It has a more powerful carcinogen than tobacco."

A Youtube channel called freespeechtv has audio from the event, as well as some colorful commentary from the radio host and guest. Watch here:

Banner Image: Flickr/ Gage Skidmore

h/t The Post and Courier