People often forget that politicians are human too – well, most of them anyway – so it comes as no surprise that there are many who have dabbled in the world of marijuana. When in the public eye, politicians are forced to abide by laws to retain their public popularity, but with cannabis legalization spreading rapidly, more and more politicians are admitting their love for the herb.
Marijuana opposers have long argued that smoking pot makes you slow, lazy and unsuccessful. In fact, it is the complete opposite! Some of the most successful and well-known politicians have not only admitted to smoking cannabis in the past, but many continue to do so.
While the world still debates whether a naturally growing plant should be legal (it totally should) it is comforting to know that there are important politicians who advocate the recreational use of cannabis and are helping the surge to legalization.
Politicians who have admitted to recreational use of the drug include mayors, governors, members of the House of Representatives, Senators, and even Presidents.
Justin Trudeau – Prime Minister
No list would be complete without Canada’s 2020 prime minister, the man who finally legalized the recreational use of marijuana in the country.
Trudeau has confessed to smoking a joint “five or six times” in his life (I find that hard to believe) and even as recently as 2010, while he was an elected member of parliament. This caused uproar amongst Canadian cannabis opposers, but Trudeau stood firm that it was no mistake and did not regret taking a few tokes. Perhaps he knew their efforts to discredit him were futile as the framework was already in place to completely legalize the drug.
“I have no doubt that Canadians and entrepreneurs will be tremendously innovative in finding ways to create positive economic benefits from the legalization and control of marijuana, but our focus is on protecting kids and protecting our streets.” – Justin Trudeau
It is thanks to Justin Trudeau that Canadian dispensaries, such as Kootenay Botanicals, are able to exist as a businesses, providing high-quality marijuana and cannabis products to the general public of Canada.
Jack Layton was a former Canadian politician and was the leader of the New Democratic Party from 2003 to 2011. Layton was a former member of the Toronto City Council and occasionally served as the cities acting mayor.
Layton had been a cannabis activist for the majority of his life, even before he entered the world of politics in 1982. As a recreational weed smoker, he was an advocate for a reform on Canadian drug law. It truly is a shame that he passed away before these new laws came to fruition.
“I’d like to invite you to support our party which is in favour of modernizing our marijuana laws and creating a legal environment in which people can enjoy their marijuana in the peace and quiet of their own home or in a cafe without having to worry about being criminalized.” – Jack Layton
Rob Ford was a Canadian politician who was also an avid weed smoker. He was first elected to the Toronto city council in 2000 and went on to act as Toronto’s 64th mayor from 2010 to 2014.
Ford is renowned for being one of Canada’s most controversial politicians, from his rumoured use of hard drugs and his sharp rebuttals against critics and opponents. Ford was never worried about damaging his reputation through admitting to the use of cannabis.
After Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne controversially confessed to using the drug 35 years ago back in 2013, Rob Ford was recorded joking and laughing with journalists declaring “I’ve smoked a lot of it!”
Much like Jack Layton, it was saddening to witness Ford pass away before recreational marijuana was made legal in Canada. However, the man’s legacy is forever integrated into the cannabis community with the creation of ‘Rob Ford Kush’, a strain of marijuana available from a certain Toronto dispensary.
Bill Clinton – Former President
Bill Clinton served as the 42nd president of the United States between 1993 and 2001. He famously admitted to smoking marijuana while he was a student in England, cleverly confessing without ever breaking US laws.
Clintons admission became one of legends that eventually developed into a running joke throughout his presidency;
“I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale and I didn’t try it again.” – Bill Clinton
Of course, we must believe the former president, but it is difficult to tell which of his statements are less convincing – that he didn’t like it, or that he didn’t inhale.
Barack Obama – Former President
Barack Obama served as the 44th president of the United States between 2008 and 2017. It has been well documented that Obama frequently smoked pot as a teenager in Hawaii and was an active member of the Choom Gang, his high school weed-smoking squad.
During his presidential campaign in 2006, Obama established a humorous contrast between himself and former president Bill Clinton;
“I inhaled frequently…that was the point.” – Barack Obama
Having a president that was so open about his personal use of cannabis certainly paved the way for legalisation throughout America. It was under Obama’s jurisdiction that the first states legalised the recreational use of marijuana, and now the tide has turned it is only a matter of time before the rest of the country, and the world, catches up.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Actor & Governor
Arnie is famous worldwide for his illustrious bodybuilding career, playing the cyborg assassin in The Terminator film franchise, and more recently serving as the governor of California for eight years between 2003 and 2011.
However, what many people may not be aware of is that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a die-hard activist for the USA’s marijuana legalization effort. Since becoming Mr. Universe at the age of 20 and all the way to his governing career, Arnold has been an advocate for the recreational use of weed.
During his tenure in California, he played a key role in many of the legislations that lead to eventual legalization.
You do not have to look far to find footage of Arnie enjoying a bong or smoking a joint. In his 1977 documentary, Pumping Iron. Mr. Schwarzenegger was never timid to admitting his love for the plant (when you’re his size what are you scared of) and even stated “Marijuana is not a drug, it’s a leaf” in an interview with GQ magazine back in 2007. For an acting governor to make comments like this before weed was legal was a pretty big deal.
Jesse Ventura – Wrestler & Mayor
There is likely no politician alive or deceased who is more of an advocate for cannabis than ex-professional wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura. He even wrote a book! ‘Jesse Ventura’s Marijuana Manifesto: How Lies, Corruption, and Propaganda Kept Cannabis Illegal’.
Jesse Ventura served as both mayor of Brooklyn Park (1991-1995) and the 38th governor of Minnesota (1999-2003). It is satisfying to know a man of Jesse’s influence does not only agree this plant should be legal worldwide, but is actively speaking out against those who oppose these views.
Mr. Ventura has always been outspoken about the lies the world has been spoon-fed by their governments concerning marijuana. He is a strong believer that prohibiting weed is a huge conspiracy driven by Big Pharma and the DEA to allow them to keep pocketing cheques off the back of opium prescriptions and drug seizures.
Early Pioneers of Legalization
It is never easy for politicians to admit to the use of drugs. They come under immense scrutiny from the general public and can risk losing their seat, simultaneously destroying their career. It is almost certain that other politicians out there have had their fair share of tokes on a joint but may never admit to it. Perhaps when cannabis is legal across the board, they will come out the woodwork, but for now we can only speculate.
We have seen the benefits that legal marijuana can bring, including jobs, tax dollars, reduced crime rate, even improved mental health and wellbeing. Now is the time for more politicians to take a stand on cannabis laws whether they have smoked the stuff or not. If we had a few more political figures being as outspoken as Jesse Ventura, perhaps we could all enjoy legal dope, and what better way to end this article than a quote from the man himself;
“I say legalise marijuana because we have a chance to leave this world a better place for our children. Marijuana legalisation is job creation, tax dollars, something to rejuvenate our pathetic economy. This is a multibillion-dollar industry. This is about jobs; this is about economics; this is about freedom…” – Jesse Ventura