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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bill Clinton Denies Denying Marijuana Use; "Didn't Inhale" Mystery Persists

Posted By on Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 11:13 AM

click to enlarge Still wiggly after all these years - TWITTER/JORGE RAMOS
  • Twitter/Jorge Ramos
  • Still wiggly after all these years

Prior to today's Choomer-in-Chief, William Jefferson Clinton was America's most-powerful former pot user.

Or was he? On the campaign trail in 1992, Clinton famously admitted to "trying" marijuana once or twice during wild college years in England. And he did it in a way that, in the light of his later verbal acrobatics in front of Congress, now seems prescient: yes, he'd tried it, but he "didn't inhale."

That sounds an awful lot like a denial -- kind of like admitting to drinking beer, but not swallowing -- but the country gave Bubba a pass (and not his last). And now Clinton is denying that it was a denial. In an interview with Fusion TV's Jorge Ramos, Clinton stands up for himself: "I never denied that I used marijuana. I told the truth, I thought it was funny."

Yes. Yes, it is.

Now that that nostalgia has sunk in and the nausea has subsided, let us recall Clinton's record on marijuana and drug reform in general: it sucks.

For many Americans the 1990s were a beautiful fantasy world: the land of never-ending 10 percent returns, a decade of growth and peace capped off with a tech boom open to anyone with a pulse (no CS degree required).

Not so much if you got busted for drugs. In the Clinton years, the Drug War was ramped up at home and abroad. The number of Americans in jail for nonviolent drug offenses nearly doubled, the number of Americans arrested for marijuana tripled on the way to a record high (later to be broken), and as Marijuana Majority's Tom Angell pointed out last year, it was Clinton's Justice Department that tried to stomp out medical marijuana at its source in California by attempting to take away the DEA licenses of doctors just for discussing medical marijuana with their patients.

Anyway, back to 2013. In his interview with Ramos aired last night, Clinton bristled at the notion that he was less than truthful about his pot use.

"I didn't say I was holier than thou, I said I tried," Clinton said. "I never denied that I used marijuana. I told the truth. I thought it was funny."

So how do you try or use marijuana without inhaling? The world may never know.

Clinton equivocates a little bit more in the interview, when asked about marijuana legalization. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Neither -- it is merely a thing.

"The drug issue should be decided by people in each country, based on what they think is right," Clinton said. "We have a process in America for doing it that's being revisited state-by-state. And Latin America is free to do the same thing ... It's obvious that attitudes are changing and opening up."

Not quite as spurious as responding with a question on the definition of "is," but still squirrely. Thanks for the input, Bill.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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