Higher Office: The U.S. Presidents Who Used Cannabis

February 15, 2021

It’s Presidents’ Day, which (for the students, bankers, and civic employees among us) often means a full day off. Pay a special tribute to the men who held the highest office and liked to get high by popping some cannabis edibles or sparking up your favorite flower strain.

Nice and toasted? Good. Get ready for some history—here are the four presidents that (allegedly) smoked weed.

Jfk John F Kennedy Smoke Weed Marijuana Tommy Chong | People's California

Did John F. Kennedy Smoke Weed?

You may have seen this image macro floating around Facebook and other social media sites. We’re not sure where it came from initially, but it definitely blew up after being posted by comedian and cannabis entrepreneur Tommy Chong (of Chong’s Choice). The claim originates from an article published in 1976 by the National Enquirer, a tabloid that’s much more focused on sensational headlines than accuracy.

Jfk John F Kennedy Marijuana Cannabis Smoke Weed | People's California

While Kennedy did suffer from Addison’s Disease and back pain, there’s no real evidence that he smoked marijuana. In this widely-shared image, Kennedy appears to be smoking a cigar—not a cannabis pre-roll. It’s certainly possible that JFK enjoyed a toke every now and then, but ultimately, there’s no concrete proof.

President Washington’s Weed Farm

Even during the many decades of full cannabis prohibition, there was one garden proudly growing cannabis plants with full legal permission. It grew on the grounds of Mount Vernon, the mansion owned by America’s first president, George Washington.

While growing hemp for industrial use (especially rope-making) was typical during those times, there are hints that Washington may have been growing cannabis for other uses as well. He did separate his plants by sex, keeping the cannabinoid-rich female plants away from the male plants. It’s not conclusive evidence of presidential cannabis usage, but it’s definitely worth noting.

U.S. Presidents Who Admitted to Smoking Cannabis

President Bill Clinton

When it comes to U.S. presidents and weed, we have to start with Bill Clinton. “I didn’t inhale it,” he famously said in response to a question about his cannabis use in college, “and never tried it again.”

Though President Clinton claimed to have only “experimented with marijuana a time or two,” there’s plenty of speculation that he may have downplayed his usage. Inhaling really wouldn’t have been an issue—cannabis edibles were plenty popular back in his school days, after all. But, honestly—“I didn’t inhale”? We won’t try to impeach him for making that claim, but we definitely don’t buy it.

Young Barack Obama President United States Marijuana Cannabis | People's California

President Barack Obama

Since Clinton’s wishy-washy statement on weed, public perception has changed, and President Barack Obama was able to be much more candid about his past. In Barack Obama: The Story, a biography by David Maraniss, there’s a big focus on Obama’s adolescence in Hawaii, particularly the time he spent with his “Choom Gang” buddies (a nickname they made up themselves). According to Maraniss, Obama and his buddies would do a little underage drinking, light up some “sweet-sticky Hawaiian buds,” and listen to music.

Many people corroborated the story told in Maraniss’s book, and so did the president himself. Obama personally confirmed his cannabis use in Dreams From My Father, saying that “pot had helped” during a difficult time in his life.

Where to Buy Cannabis for Your President’s Day Celebration

This year, elect yourself to higher office. People’s is open every day of the year for convenient cannabis shopping, so head on over to stock up on pre-rolls, edibles, vapes and more. Order your favorite cannabis products online to save time in-store, or get free weed delivery right to your house.

Looking for a more personal experience? If you’d prefer to have a guided consultation with one of the cannabis experts at People’s, visit our Orange County weed store. Once you check in, head on upstairs to our Guided Consultation line to speak with one of our Guides directly. Whether you’re new to cannabis or just want to try something different and need some suggestions, our Guides are always able to help. Visit People’s today for an experience that’s simply capital!

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