President Donald Trump has opinions on many things, from trade deals with China to which “Saturday Night Live” skits are funny and how things are going on the new version of “The Apprentice.”
But here’s one thing he knows nothing about: what it’s like to use marijuana.
In a 2016 interview during the presidential campaign, Trump said he’s never even tried marijuana. (For the record, he’s not a drinker, either, saying he “never liked the taste”).
That would have been commonplace in mid-20th century America. But he’s an exception to the rule of the last quarter century.
He’s the first president since 1992 who says he never tried marijuana.
Asked in an interview with Fox News’ Jesse Watters “Have you ever smoked weed?” Trump replied:
“I have not. I would tell you 100 percent because everyone else seems to admit it. Almost like, it’s almost like, hey, it’s a sign. No. I have never smoked a cigarette either.”
Watters didn’t bother to follow up and ask him what he meant by that “sign” comment, so we may never what that was about.
Which Former Presidents Got High?
Trump breaks a chain of presidents who have admitted to using marijuana.
Barack Obama. Obama admitted to smoking marijuana in his youth, as well as trying cocaine. He also admitted to inhaling, unlike Bill Clinton, saying, “I inhaled, frequently. That was the point.” Obama was the first president not only to admit using marijuana, but also not be ashamed of admitting it.
George W. Bush. “Bush 43” had a history in his youth of drug abuse, including cocaine. He admitted after leaving office that he also smoked marijuana. However, he said he did not admit it while in office because he didn’t want kids to do the same things he had done.
Bill Clinton. In one of the most famous complete dork moments in U.S. presidential history, Bill Clinton said he experimented with marijuana while in college at Oxford, but never inhaled. Um, Ok. Christopher Hitchens, the late British writer and commentator, attended Oxford with Clinton and said he enjoyed pot brownies, something the former president never confirmed (or denied, for that matter).
Before those three, Jimmy Carter (who was in office from 1976-1980) said he never tried marijuana but backed legislation to decriminalize possession of an ounce or less. But his son, Chip, most definitely smoked pot with Willie Nelson on the White House roof, according to Nelson himself.
Other than that, you can find many stories about various Founding Fathers and other presidents using marijuana. In the case of George Washington, he was simply growing hemp on all five of his farms. Although it’s worth noting that Washington could get thrown in jail for doing that in America now, more than 200 years later.
So Trump is the first president since George Bush the elder (“Bush 41”) not to have smoked marijuana. The elder Bush created the federal Drug Czar and cut off funding for medical marijuana research. Whether Trump’s views are like his or are more tolerant remains to be seen.