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There are some presidential facts that we all know by heart: the George Washington cherry tree story; the details of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination; the fact that William Howard Taft was fat and had a mustache and literally nothing else about him. But people rarely talk about how several US presidents smoked marijuana; the question almost never shows up on AP exams. With the national conversation about pot becoming more tolerant, it’s about time we all learned about presidents who smoked weed.
We’re off to a solid start; the first president smoked pot. There’s evidence of this in diaries he kept throughout his life. He grew hemp to use for fiber, but also for more enjoyable reasons. It’s also been suggested that he used weed to ease frequent toothaches.
Something this president probably said while high: “Does it ever freak you guys out that we just like, made up a new country?”
Jefferson also farmed hemp, when he wasn’t busy sleeping around. He was the American Ambassador to France when hashish was a big deal there, and he even smuggled extra-potent hemp seeds from China back to the United States.
Something this president probably said while high: “Dude, did you tell anyone about the hemp I smuggled? I feel like people know about the hemp I smuggled.”
History says that Madison claimed hemp provided him with creative insight. He was one of the major players in the drafting of the Constitution, so I guess we have weed to thank for one of the greatest documents ever written. In light of that information, it seems like all those after-school specials were overreacting.
Something this president probably said while high: “John, John—sign your name really big. Seriously, do it. It’ll be hilarious.”
While some modern presidents have been criticized for drug use, James Monroe was all, “IDGAF.” He openly smoked hashish throughout his time as the US Ambassador to France and continued to do so pretty regularly until he passed away. He was 73 and, I’m willing to bet, pretty mellow about most stuff.
Something this president probably said while high: “Elizabeth, do we have any Cheetos in the house? What? What do you mean Cheetos aren’t a thing yet?”
Look at Andrew Jackson’s fucking hair. Of course that dude got high. During his time in the military, he wrote letters in which he referenced smoking marijuana with fellow troops.
Something this president probably said while high: “No, but what if one day they put my face on money? That would be crazy, right?”
We know about Taylor smoking weed because he also referenced it in letters he wrote as a soldier. Kind of lame and copy-cat-y, if you ask me, which is probably why you never remember him when you try to list all the presidents. Get your own life, Zachary.
Something this president probably said while high: “Remember when Jackson was president? Man, that guy was cool.”
Franklin Pierce also outed himself as a pot smoker in writing. In a letter he sent to his family when he fought in the Mexican-American War, Pierce said that “about the only good thing” about the experience was smoking marijuana. Sounds legit.
Something this president probably said while high: “I don’t know, I just didn’t think rifle-based warfare was gonna be this much of a downer.”
John F. Kennedy
There’s no record of any presidents between Pierce and JFK smoking weed, but I’m sure at least one of them did. My money’s on Taft—he looks like the one most likely to have fallen victim to the munchies. Anyway, Kennedy reportedly used marijuana to deal with severe back pain. Maybe his back would have felt better if he weren’t carrying guilt from super-duper-cheating on his wife, am I right? Ba-dum tsss.
Something this president probably said while high: “Everyone chill out. Someday, nobody’s even going to remember this Marilyn Monroe rumor.”
Bill Clinton was pretty much the first cool president, so this makes sense. He famously said that he “experimented with marijuana a time or two” and “didn’t like it.” He added, “I didn’t inhale and never tried it again.” And then everyone who ever hung out with him was like, that sounds made up. I guess we’ll never know.
Something this president probably said while high: “Sometimes I feel like my saxophone understands me better than my wife. That's weird, right?”
George W. Bush
It’s pretty well known that Bush used cocaine when he was younger, but he’s always been reluctant to answer questions about whether or not he ever smoked weed. That’s kind of like admitting to vehicular manslaughter but insisting you weren’t speeding when it happened, but I’m not here to judge.
Something this president probably said while high: “I swear to God, for a second there, I totally forgot what the 'W' stood for.”
Clinton was the first cool president, but Barack Obama, in my opinion, is way cooler. Poking fun at Clinton’s inhaling comment, Obama said in 2008, “When I was a kid, I inhaled, frequently. That was the point.” And that is the point! Way to own it, Barack. Live your truth.
Something this president probably said while high: “Joe, I mean it. I think we should get matching tattoos.”
Did any of these presidents smoke weed in office? Nobody can be sure, but I think I speak for everyone when I say I really hope so. If you have to run an entire country, you deserve the ability to relieve some of that stress with marijuana. (Except for you, 45. You deserve nothing, and you know that.)