Bill Clinton Admitted To Smoking Weed (and doing it wrong) 25 Years Ago
But it's not like Slick Willy was the only commander in chief that ever did drugs...
Twenty-five years ago today, during his campaign for the Oval Office, former President Bill Clinton made headlines when at a candidates forum he admitted that before entering politics, he tried weed. Though the at-the-time Arkansas governor was no pot-head.
According to TIME magazine, Clinton’s exact verbiage was:
"I've never broken a state law. But when I was in England I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn't like it,” Clinton said. “I didn't inhale it, and never tried it again."
Now, with more than half of the country having enacted some form of legal marijuana, much of the stigma surrounding cannabis-use is dying off and marijuana is becoming part of the mainstream mindset. In 2017, such a self-divulged glimpse into a politician's personal life would be less a newsworthy scandal and more along the lines of relatable campaign talk. But in 1992, when Clinton told the world that he smoked weed once (and did it wrong) in his 20s, marijuana didn’t occupy the same space within popular culture. And divulging that he at one point engaged in such a "degenerate activity" was a bold but polarizing move.
For Clinton, allegedly the cannabis habit never stuck. Indeed, weed isn’t for everyone. But it’s not as if he was the first president to indulge in exploratory drug use.
Founding father George Washington grew hemp, and took opiate-derivative laudanum––which saw common use at the time. Former President John F. Kennedy was a charmer, sure, but JFK was also a heavy drinker, and possibly an opioid addict––a result of chronic back pain. And let's not leave out an opportunity to speculate about the current Commander in Kief? Going off of the content of his Twitter feed alone, President Donald J. Trump likely smokes PCP for breakfast. You heard it here first. Who knows!?
Emerging artist, New York Times bestseller, and former President George W. Bush was in his younger, pre-White House years, a booze-hound with a penchant for cocaine. During interviews with the media, when asked about his experience blowing lines, the former president was vague, sure, but Bush acknowledged that his status as a public figure might in fact glamorize drug-use.
According to CNET, Bush would respond to queries on his drug-use with statements such as, “cause I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."
Similarly, years before 45th President of the United States Barack Obama gave the order for Seal Team Six to take down the world’s most wanted terrorist, he was getting hella stoned with a group of friends he called the “Choom Gang.”
Obama wrote in his second memoir Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, that he did drugs as a means of escaping the associated depression of a poor relationship with his father.
"Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it,”
Still, recklessness of youth should never be held against anyone as a judge of character. Presidents are people too. Whether the country is enjoying a time of prosperity, or in the throes of an economic recession: Everyone needs a break from the here and now, from time to time.