Everybody smokes pot. The Beatles told us this in the frantic, garbled final seconds of “I Am The Walrus,” and the truth is, everyone does smoke pot: your parents, your teachers, your neighbors, and yes – even you.
The United States’ War on Drugs reeks of hypocrisy when you realize that many Presidents were drug users at some point in their life. George W Bush had a notorious cocaine habit, Martin Van Buren’s nickname was “Blue Whiskey Van,” and Thomas Jefferson smoked opium. And of course, there were also many Presidents that smoked weed.
Thankfully, marijuana is slowly but surely being legalized. In honor of that fact, let’s look back through the history books and celebrate 7 of our Presidents that were also stoners.
Presidents That Smoked Weed
7. Barack Obama
AKA the most productive stoner of all time. Obama was notorious for smoking weed during his paradisical childhood in Hawaii. He and his smoke buddies even formed “The Choom Gang.” According to ABC, Obama was actually attributed as the founder of several smoking tricks. One was known as “Roof Hits,” which a friend described: “When they were choosing 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.”
In his high school yearbook, Obama shouted out “Ray, for all the good times.” Ray was the Choom Gang’s older weed dealer.
6. Bill Clinton
When controversy arose in 1992 over Clinton’s use of marijuana, he famously said: “When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two; but I didn’t like it, and didn’t inhale.”
This was technically the truth, but Christopher Hitchens, Clinton’s Oxford classmate, said that Clinton, in fact, loved marijuana. Hitchens claimed that Clinton would “cram marijuana” into himself via pot brownies and cookies. (By the way, if you’re looking to “cram marijuana” into your body via weed tea made from your stems, here’s our guide to doing so.)
5. John F Kennedy
JFK used marijuana to deal with severe back pain. His biography described the following scene: “On the evening of July 16, 1962, 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.”
4. Franklin Pierce
“War…war never changes,” was an iconic quote from Call of Duty, and weed usage in American wars has indeed never stopped. Vietnam was famous for its dope-smoking, but General Pierce smoked marijuana with his troops 120 years earlier, during the Mexican-American War in 1846. He wrote to his family that cannabis was “about the only good thing” in the war.
Also, as a fun aside: Pierce was such a heavy drinker that when his presidency ended, he said: “There is nothing left now… but to get drunk.”
3. James Madison
Madison, the “Father of the Constitution” himself, was one of the Presidents that smoked weed. Madison once said that smoking hemp “gave him the insight to create a new and democratic nation.”
If that doesn’t give you an excuse to smoke a blunt tonight, we have no idea what will.
2. Thomas Jefferson
By many accounts, Thomas Jefferson was a horrible human being – a vicious slaveholder – but weed was one of the times he was on the right side of history. Jefferson was a hashish enthusiast during his time as Ambassador to France and smuggled hemp seeds into America from China. He also gave special smoking blends of hemp to friends.
Although some historians disagree about the veracity of this quote by Jefferson, it is worth including: “Some of my finest hours,” he said, “have been spent sitting on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.”
1. George Washington
Many consider Washington our greatest President, so it makes sense that he was also one of the Presidents that smoked weed.
Washington regularly smoked marijuana to alleviate teeth pain. He kept an extremely detailed diary, in which he dryly recounted the mundanities of hemp farming: “Sowed Hemp at the muddy hole by swamp,” he wrote. “Began to separate the male from female plants…was too late for the blossom hemp by three weeks or a month.” “Blossom hemp” was the THC-heavy variant of hemp, that eventually grew into the more potent cannabis we smoke today.