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did barack obama smoke weed

Obama talks smoking weed with college students

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Barack Obama has been partying like a rock star since he left the White House.

He has spent the last few months kite-boarding with a billionaire off the coast of a private island, hanging around on a superyacht in Tahiti with more billionaires and rock stars and megacelebrities and, we’re assuming, furnishing his five homes spread across the U.S.

But you know Barack Obama: He just can’t stay out of the spotlight. And so, on Monday, Mr. Obama showed up for his first big event since leaving office in January. He participated in a discussion with students at the University of Chicago, where he was once a visiting professor teaching constitutional law. The avuncular Mr. Obama sat cross-legged on stage with a half-dozen young people, musing about life, politics — and smoking weed.

“I would advise all of you to be a little more circumspect about your selfies,” Mr. Obama said to laughter (even though he was known to take a LOT of selfies).

“If you had pictures of everything I’d done when I was in high school, I probably wouldn’t have been president of the United States,” he said.

And then he segued into his days as a pothead in a group called the Choom Gang. Lest you forget, David Maraniss’ biography “Barack Obama: The Story” details Mr. Obama’s days of smoking marijuana with his friends in Honolulu.

Mr. Obama’s friend Mark Bendix often served as chauffeur in his Volkswagen minibus, known as “the Choomwagon.” The group of teens would head off to Mount Tantalus, where they parked, “turned up their stereos playing Aerosmith, Blue Oyster Cult and Stevie Wonder, lit up some ‘sweet-sticky Hawaiian buds’ and washed it down with ‘green bottled beer’ (the Choom Gang preferred Heineken, Becks, and St. Pauli Girl).” Good times.

Mr. Maraniss writes that Mr. Obama was a champion weed smoker. “When they were chooming in a car all the windows had to be rolled up so no smoke blew out and went to waste; when the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling.”

And Mr. Obama inspired the goal of “Total Absorption,” or “TA.”

“TA was the opposite of Bill Clinton’s claim that as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled,” Mr. Maraniss wrote. When it was your turn to hit the joint, if you exhaled early, “you were assessed a penalty and your turn was skipped the next time the joint came around.”

So it was interesting that on Monday, Mr. Obama warned kids not to photograph themselves too much because “everything’s searchable.”

Recalling his autobiography “Dreams From My Father,” Mr. Obama said, “Because I had been pretty honest about the struggles I went though as a young man, uh, when I ran for office and there was some big reveal about, ‘Oh, the guy smoked pot,’ it’s like, ‘Yeah, no, it’s in my book,’” he said to laughter and applause. “I, I, I, and, and, and, I, I learned from that, I, I, I didn’t sugarcoat it. I didn’t suggest that somehow it had been, uh, you know, something that I recommend for everybody.

“But that’s what teenage kids did at that age when I was where I was growing up. Not everybody. Some were wiser than me. I wasn’t that wise.”

Ah, but Mr. Obama was there to make sure that young people know they can smoke weed — and still become president. It worked for him, right? Such a good role model.

• Joseph Curl has covered politics for 25 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent at The Washington Times. He also ran the Drudge Report as morning editor for four years. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter [email protected]

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.

Barack Obama has been partying like a rock star since he left the White House.

Barack Obama: ‘Marijuana no more dangerous than alcohol’

20 January 2014

US President Barack Obama has said smoking marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol, but still called it a “bad idea”.

Speaking to The New Yorker magazine, he said it was wrong to think legalising the drug would be “a panacea” that could solve many social problems.

Mr Obama was referring to recent legalisation of marijuana in the states of Colorado and Washington.

He has previously admitted using the drug when he was young.

“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life,” Mr Obama said.

But he added that in terms of its impact on the individual consumer “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol”.

He also said that poor people – many of them African Americans and Latinos – were disproportionately punished for marijuana use, whereas middle-class users mostly escaped harsh penalties.

“It’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”

Mr Obama described the legalisation of marijuana in Colorado and Washington as a challenging “experiment”.

Colorado’s law went into effect on 1 January, while Washington is expected to allow the drug’s sale later this year.

US President Barack Obama says smoking marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol, but still calls it a "bad idea".