Anti-marijuana politicians and presidents who couldn’t resist smoking weed
The unfairness of cannabis prohibition is one subject which unites cannabis users around the world. Perhaps most irritating of all are political leaders who maintain their opposition to cannabis despite having enjoyed using it themselves.
The typical modern politician doesn’t want to see their own life damaged by a criminal record for cannabis use. But they are quite content to see others (usually young people) disadvantaged by unjust criminal records which are liberally dished out by the courts.
So who are the biggest hypocrites in our political elite? In truth every country has plenty of them, read on to find out just a few of the higher profile politicians who couldn’t resist smoking weed.
Politicians and Presidents Who Smoked Weed
The political elite of our society feel that they have good PR reasons for trying to keep their weed use private. For the rest of us however, it can occasionally be entertaining to read their versions of events and excuses.
Most importantly of all, politicians are keen to ensure that their political careers remain undamaged by criminal records. But they usually don’t do anything about the rest of society being punished or jailed for cannabis offences.
Newt Gingrich smoked weed before it became immoral to do so
Newt Gingrich is a US political veteran who did admit smoking weed, though he pointed out that this was way before it became ‘immoral’ to do so. It was back in the 60’s ‘and everyone did it’. Thank goodness for that, Newt’s political record and moral values can remain absolutely unblemished.
In 1982 he wrote a letter supporting medical cannabis, a position he later reversed. Gingrich caused howls of hypocrisy when he urged the Death Penalty for importing cannabis illegally. The Drug Importer Death Penalty Act (1996), if passed, would have guaranteed thousands of executions for non-violent offenders each year. This deadly measure, which would mandate the electric chair for those caught importing over two ounces of weed, failed to pass through congress. Many commented on the irony of a death-sentence cannabis law from someone who admits he enjoyed weed during his college years.
In 1994 Gingrich hit the headlines when he accused ‘up to a quarter’ of the Clinton administration of being heavy cannabis users despite having no evidence.
Few US politicians have been as utterly confused about cannabis as Newt Gingrich. All he needs next is a lucrative appointment to the Board of Directors for a legal cannabis company and he will have travelled the full political circle on cannabis legality.
Bill Clinton admitted cannabis use though he didn’t inhale any
Bill Clinton managed a unique piece of political fence-sitting when he admitted that he smoked weed though fell short of actually inhaling any and getting high. The barely plausible story was Clinton’s official position whenever asked about it. The comedian Johnny Carson joked “That’s the trouble with the Democrats. Even when they do something wrong, they don’t do it right”.
Clinton would later be accused of having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. His defence team, perhaps drawing legal inspiration from his legendary pot-smoking alibi, said much depended on the definition of what is actually meant by sex.
George W Bush was an occasional user but didn’t want to admit it
George W Bush did admit to previous issues with alcohol and drugs but avoided public discussion on the subject, fearing it would set a bad example to younger people. Bush didn’t support cannabis legalisation and did little to assist the cause of medical cannabis during his presidency.
Barack Obama used weed and enjoyed it
To his credit, Obama admitted he was a regular cannabis user from high school through to college. His book ‘Dreams Of My Father’ detailed the democrat former President’s early years. Obama was perhaps the boldest and most honest Presidential cannabis user. Unlike President Clinton who explained that he smoked ‘But didn’t inhale’, Obama said he did inhale…. ‘That was the whole point’ he added. As President, Obama didn’t object to, or stop legislation at state level. But Obama also failed to take the opportunity to legalise cannabis at a federal level.
Sarah Palin enjoyed weed but won’t risk others doing the same
The former Vice Presidential candidate is alleged to have used cocaine and cannabis before her political rise to fame. Although she regards cannabis use as a ‘minimal problem’, in this interview with CBS News she says is against legalisation of cannabis. Palin explains that legalising weed “would just encourage especially our young people to think that it was OK to just go ahead and use it”.
This is a typical viewpoint voiced by many politicians. Confessing to having used cannabis, they believe, makes them seem more human to potential voters. Striving to maintain cannabis prohibition, regardless of their own extensive youthful pot smoking, is still viewed as a political vote winner.
Al Gore haunted by stoner rumours but did little to improve national laws
Despite being Vice President of a country that regularly incarcerated people for using cannabis during his time in office, Gore was rumoured to be an avid ‘pot smoker’ in his youth. There were claims from his old friend John Warnecke that Al was a midnight smoker well into his political career. When confronted with these accusations, Gore simply said that the accusations ‘were nothing new’. It’s a way of swerving the issue without actually commenting on the accusations.
Despite careful avoidance of the issue, allegations that Gore was a serious cannabis lover continued to haunt him through his political career.
UK anti cannabis politicians caught smoking weed
Like every other European nation, the UK has its share of political cannabis hypocrites. Usually they admit to trying cannabis ‘when they were students’. As soon as they are elected, these hypocrites usually decide it’s safer to maintain prohibition. The result is hundreds of thousands of (primarily) young people who get criminal records for cannabis possession.
Despite high level political hypocrisy over cannabis, growing your own cannabis remains hugely popular in the UK. Many people grow their own cannabis from autoflower seeds or feminised cannabis seeds.
Boris Johnson loved his weed but doesn’t want the rest of us doing the same
GQ magazine recently re-published a Boris Johnson interview from 2007 where he admits trying cocaine and cannabis. Boris enjoyed his cannabis, describing it as ‘jolly nice’. Boris suffers from the political delusion that the modern cannabis is frighteningly more potent than the stuff he enjoyed. For that reason he seems to want to distance himself from any cannabis reform. Although the UK could desperately do with the £billions that cannabis legalisation would bring, politicians are still some years away from the point of publicly recognising it.
Meanwhile street gangs fight turf wars over drugs and UK stabbings reached an all-time high recently. Many feel that UK drug reform would massively undermine organised drug gangs, yet the UK has been unable to even introduce an effective medical cannabis system.
David Cameron the cannabis reformer afraid of reforming
Former UK Prime minister David Cameron was once a young up-and-coming politician who bravely argued for the political elite to reform cannabis laws. Once he became PM, Cameron did nothing at all to reform cannabis laws. Now safely retired from politics, Cameron freely admits being ‘off his head’ regularly.
For many UK cannabis lovers, Cameron represents the typical self-serving politician. They admit using and enjoying cannabis. But if they had received a cannabis criminal record, their own political careers may never have happened.
Jacqui Smith the completely clueless Home Secretary who regretted clamping down on cannabis
Jacqui Smith openly admits to enjoying cannabis in the 1980’s at university. But in the finest traditions of about-turns, the politically astute Smith was keen to explain that “I am not proud about it, I did the wrong thing”. That admission came just before she was put in charge of UK drug policy. Mindful of turning a negative into a positive, Smith added that “I hope that my experiences in my life have actually helped me understand that I do want crime tackled”.
When given her top political job, as Home Secretary, she oversaw a review of cannabis. That review saw cannabis reclassified from a ‘Category C’ drug into a more serious ‘Category B’ classification. Despite having frequently enjoyed cannabis at University, Smith decided to increase the penalties for cannabis use and possession with the cannabis re-classification.
To complete her grand circle of incompetence, after her political career ended, Jacqueline Smith admitted that her decision to upgrade cannabis into a more severe ‘Category B’ was a mistake.
Smith is typical of those politicians that enjoyed cannabis as a student. Then, to further their political careers, they join the anti-cannabis brigade. Finally, looking back wistfully at their illustrious careers they decide that perhaps they were too severe in their anti-cannabis actions.
French politicians with cannabis links
France, along with the UK and some Scandinavian countries, has been among the slowest EU countries to modernise their cannabis laws. This makes it particularly frustrating for French cannabis lovers when they hear that several anti-cannabis politicians have had reports linking them to cannabis use. Here are a few of them.
Manuel Valls was against cannabis law reviews but enjoyed a smoke himself
The former French Home Affairs Minister and Prime Minister was against any moves to reduce penalties for cannabis use. But during an interview he did admit that he smoked cannabis. Politicians like this allow prohibition to drag on for many more years.
Cécile Duflot and the space cake desires
The former French Minister of Equality and Housing was in favour of decriminalising cannabis in France. As she was being interviewed about decriminalised cannabis in France, she declared she wasn’t sure whether she would smoke cannabis if it became legal, but she would try cannabis space cakes.
Daniel Cohn Bendit, the European Member of Parliament, subsequently came out and backed Cecile. He actually admitted trying space cakes.
Nicolas Sarkozy and the mysterious bags of weed
The former French Home Affairs Minister and President was against decriminalising cannabis in France. The scandal hit ex-President (check out the Air Cocaine reports in the French Press)
has always claimed to be completely drug-free. But a book written by the guitarist Robin Le Mesurier for Johnny Hallyday suggests otherwise. Johnny Halliday (a friend of Sarkozy and partner Carla Bruni) was quoted as saying that it “wasn’t rare to see a bag of weed laying on the table whenever he used to visit Sarkozy and Carla Bruni.”
Justin Trudeau, Canadian PM tried weed occasionally
Justin Trudeau famously legalised cannabis for both recreational and medical uses in Canada. Today Canadians can enjoy their cannabis legally and have created a multi-million dollar industry complete with thousands of well paid, professional jobs. Trudeau himself has admitted to using cannabis around “five or six times” but correctly makes no apology for doing so. Trudeau represents a new breed of modern politician, unafraid to admit personal cannabis use and unafraid to rectify unjust prohibitionist laws.
The right to grow your own cannabis seeds
These days many cannabis lovers in legal (and illegal) countries grow their own weed easily using autoflower seeds or feminised cannabis seeds. Where cannabis remains illegal, the easiest and cheapest way to a low-cost supply is to grow it yourself.
Even in areas where cannabis is legally available, many connoisseurs prefer to grow it organically themselves from known genetics from high quality cannabis seeds. When done well, growing your own weed from cannabis seeds can result in superior buds to those on offer at the local dispensaries, social clubs or coffee shops.
Over recent decades politicians believed they could further their careers by portraying a strong anti-cannabis image. Perhaps that will change, allowing future politicians to feel unthreatened by some honesty about how much they enjoyed using cannabis and how they would like to improve anti-cannabis discrimination.
Interested to know which politicians and Presidents have used cannabis? Read on to discover which politicians used weed and how they explained it
11 US Presidents Who Smoked Marijuana
While we’re really sure about the last three presidents’ history of pot smoking, the historical record is unclear about some of the rest. Here’s a look at the tokers and anti-tokers in the White House.
YES #44 – Barack Obama:
The current president wrote about his cocaine and marijuana use as a youth in Hawaii and famously said, “When I was a kid, I inhaled, frequently. That was the point,” when running for president in 2008.
YES #43 – George W. Bush:
Dubya was known as a cocaine user in his younger days, but he would never respond to questions about his marijuana use. Later, he told his biographer, Douglas Wead (yes, pronounced like “weed”), “I wouldn’t answer the marijuana questions. You know why? Because I don’t want some little kid doing what I tried.”
YES #42 – Bill Clinton:
Slick Willie famously said, “When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale and never tried it again,” when asked about his marijuana use. In true Clintonian fashion, he may have been telling the truth. The late Christopher Hitchens, who attended Oxford with Clinton, said Bill had an affinity for pot brownies, so he may not have ever tried “it” (inhaling) ever again.
NO #41 – George H. W. Bush:
It’s probably safe to say Poppy Bush never touched a reefer. He is the president who brought us the Drug Czar’s office and closed off the experimental federal medical marijuana program when AIDS victims started applying en masse. On the “scourge” of drugs, Bush specifically called for “intolerance” of drug users and prophetically announced that “Some think there won’t be room for them in jail. We’ll make room.”
NO #40 – Ronald Reagan:
Given that he died from Alzheimer’s disease, it is a shame the Gipper wasn’t able to embrace the cannabis medicine that could have protected his brain. Not that he would have used it, since Reagan told us, “I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast.”
NO, BUT… #39 – Jimmy Carter:
Jimmy Carter says he’s never smoked pot, but there’s no doubt his son Chip did on the roof of the White House with Willie Nelson. Still, Carter was the most progressive president on pot in the War on Drugs era, telling Congress, “I support legislation amending Federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.”
NO #37 – Richard Nixon:
Tricky Dick is the one who brought us this War on Drugs in the first place. The Nixon Tapes are replete with Nixon’s mix of irrational hatred of marijuana and non-white races and ethnicities, with quotes like, “I want a Goddamn strong statement on marijuana, I mean one that just tears the ass out of them. You know, it’s a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish.”
YES #35 – John F. Kennedy:
JFK used marijuana to deal with severe back pain, according to a few written accounts, including “John F. Kennedy: A Biography”, which described this White House scene: “On the evening of July 16, 1962, according to [Washington Post executive] Jim Truitt, Kennedy and Mary Meyer smoked marijuana together. … The president smoked three of the six joints Mary brought to him. At first he felt no effects. Then he closed his eyes and refused a fourth joint. ‘Suppose the Russians did something now,’ he said.”
From President #17 Andrew Johnson to President #34 Dwight Eisenhower, we have almost nothing in the way of historical record of presidents smoking pot. Pre-Civil War America was a land of hemp farmers and slaves who could commonly roll up some hemp leaf as a smoke. Post-Civil War America heralded the development of pre-rolled tobacco cigarettes and prejudice against the Mexican immigrants who smoked “marihuana”. Cannabis was becoming a patent medicine, so perhaps some presidents used it in that fashion. But by the turn of the 20 th century, the temperance movement was in full swing and states were beginning to prohibit cannabis. Pot smoking is not likely to be something the late 19 th and early 20 th century presidents wanted recorded for posterity, if they did it at all.
NO #16 – Abraham Lincoln:
The internet abounds with people claiming Honest Abe loved “a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica.” Hohner didn’t make harmonicas until two years after the alleged quote and didn’t export them to America from Germany until 1868, four years after Abe’s assassination. Also, that oft-cited “Prohibition… goes beyond the bound of reason…” Lincoln quote? It’s a fake, written by a former mayor of Atlanta in 1922 to court black voters to oppose alcohol prohibition. That doesn’t necessarily mean Lincoln didn’t partake; we just have no proof that he did.
YES #14 – Franklin Pierce:
One of three military men to become president who enjoyed smoking marijuana with the troops fighting the Mexican-American War. In a letter to his family, Pierce wrote that marijuana smoking was “about the only good thing” about the war.
YES #12 – Zachary Taylor:
Another of the three military men who smoked marijuana with the troops.
YES #7 – Andrew Jackson:
Third of the three military men whose letters referred to smoking marijuana with the troops.
YES #5 – James Monroe:
Openly smoked hashish while he was Ambassador to France and continued smoking it until his death at age 73.
YES #4 – James Madison:
The “Father of the Constitution” claimed that hemp gave him the insight to create a new democratic nation.
YES #3 – Thomas Jefferson:
In addition to farming hemp, Jefferson was Ambassador to France during the hashish era there. At risk of imprisonment if caught, Jefferson smuggled hemp seeds from China known for their potency to America. However, as far as our research takes us, he never said or wrote, “Some of my finest hours have been spent sitting on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.”
YES #1 – George Washington:
The father of our country kept meticulous diaries, wherein he noted “Sowed hemp at muddy hole by swamp” away from the hemp he grew for fiber. “Began to separate the male from female plants at do [sic –rather too late” and “Pulling up the (male) hemp. Was too late for the blossom hemp by three weeks or a month” indicates he was going for female plants with higher THC content. There is also indication he used hemp preparations to deal with his toothaches.
While we’re really sure about the last three presidents’ history of pot smoking, the historical record is unclear about some of the rest. Here’s a look at the