Obama talks smoking weed with college students
Barack Obama has been partying like a rock star since he left the White House.
He has spent the last few months kite-boarding with a billionaire off the coast of a private island, hanging around on a superyacht in Tahiti with more billionaires and rock stars and megacelebrities and, we’re assuming, furnishing his five homes spread across the U.S.
But you know Barack Obama: He just can’t stay out of the spotlight. And so, on Monday, Mr. Obama showed up for his first big event since leaving office in January. He participated in a discussion with students at the University of Chicago, where he was once a visiting professor teaching constitutional law. The avuncular Mr. Obama sat cross-legged on stage with a half-dozen young people, musing about life, politics — and smoking weed.
“I would advise all of you to be a little more circumspect about your selfies,” Mr. Obama said to laughter (even though he was known to take a LOT of selfies).
“If you had pictures of everything I’d done when I was in high school, I probably wouldn’t have been president of the United States,” he said.
And then he segued into his days as a pothead in a group called the Choom Gang. Lest you forget, David Maraniss’ biography “Barack Obama: The Story” details Mr. Obama‘s days of smoking marijuana with his friends in Honolulu.
Mr. Obama‘s friend Mark Bendix often served as chauffeur in his Volkswagen minibus, known as “the Choomwagon.” The group of teens would head off to Mount Tantalus, where they parked, “turned up their stereos playing Aerosmith, Blue Oyster Cult and Stevie Wonder, lit up some ‘sweet-sticky Hawaiian buds’ and washed it down with ‘green bottled beer’ (the Choom Gang preferred Heineken, Becks, and St. Pauli Girl).” Good times.
Mr. Maraniss writes that Mr. Obama was a champion weed smoker. “When they were chooming in a car all the windows had to be rolled up so no smoke blew out and went to waste; when the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling.”
And Mr. Obama inspired the goal of “Total Absorption,” or “TA.”
“TA was the opposite of Bill Clinton’s claim that as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled,” Mr. Maraniss wrote. When it was your turn to hit the joint, if you exhaled early, “you were assessed a penalty and your turn was skipped the next time the joint came around.”
So it was interesting that on Monday, Mr. Obama warned kids not to photograph themselves too much because “everything’s searchable.”
Recalling his autobiography “Dreams From My Father,” Mr. Obama said, “Because I had been pretty honest about the struggles I went though as a young man, uh, when I ran for office and there was some big reveal about, ‘Oh, the guy smoked pot,’ it’s like, ‘Yeah, no, it’s in my book,’” he said to laughter and applause. “I, I, I, and, and, and, I, I learned from that, I, I, I didn’t sugarcoat it. I didn’t suggest that somehow it had been, uh, you know, something that I recommend for everybody.
“But that’s what teenage kids did at that age when I was where I was growing up. Not everybody. Some were wiser than me. I wasn’t that wise.”
Ah, but Mr. Obama was there to make sure that young people know they can smoke weed — and still become president. It worked for him, right? Such a good role model.
• Joseph Curl has covered politics for 25 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent at The Washington Times. He also ran the Drudge Report as morning editor for four years. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter [email protected]
Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.
Barack Obama has been partying like a rock star since he left the White House.
Malia Obama may have smoked marijuana — what’s the big deal?
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Malia Obama smoked what looked like a joint and it has set the Internet ablaze.
The First Daughter’s alleged toke happened at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago, which fell at the same time as the Democratic National Convention. But it lit up Twitter last night after Radar Online published a photo of it.
It prompted a collective cry to “leave Malia Obama alone.”
“I don’t care if Malia Obama is smoking cigarettes, or smoking pot. I don’t care if she’s licking toads, for God’s sake. Let her be a teen,” one guy wrote on Twitter.
Others pointed out the 18-year-old, who graduated from a prestigious high school in June, has been accepted to Harvard (which she’ll attend in 2017 after a gap year).
“Y’all smoking weed and can’t even pass your global history regents. Leave that girl alone.”
So apparently, Malia Obama was caught smoking pot. Yassss girl ?? & she’s going to Harvard. Get you a Malia that can do both. ✨
Malia Obama smoked weed, but she’s going to HARVARD…Her daddy smoked weed and is the president. You mad? Stay mad. pic.twitter.com/yECWHbhBFb
Of course, some critics used this as an opportunity to put her famous father down. One Republican politician and Donald Trump supporter went so far as to question President Barack Obama’s ability to “vet” Syrian refugees because of this incident.
Others bashed her clothing choices at the music festival and her “provocative” dancing which they called twerking.
It’s not supposed to be funny but this graf on Malia Obama, good lord. When did your mom start working for Radar? pic.twitter.com/m7QOTfLiCo
One said this meant she had “no respect” for her father, who’s probably had a little chat with his daughter by now.
So you caught your kid smoking marijuana…
For other parents who find themselves in President Obama’s shoes, and see (or smell) evidence of their child’s marijuana-use, think before you react.
Instead of going in with guns blazing, Joanna Seidel, a Toronto-based family and child therapist, suggests an ‘internal conversation with yourself” to figure out the root of your concerns. Is there a history of substance abuse in your family? Are you worried about long-term addiction? Or them driving while high?
Express those concerns “clearly, calmly and rationally” to your child.
“You have to be very specific.”
Age is also a factor. Seidel said it’s totally different if you’re dealing with 13-year-old who may have exercised “poor judgment,” or a 17-year-old who could have “thought it through and wanted to try it.”
Being less judgy of other parents is also a plus.
If some parents let their kids smoke marijuana it doesn’t mean they’re bad parents, Seidel said.
Hopefully the President won’t be too hard on her. After all, he’s admitted to smoking weed himself.
He’s also said he doesn’t think it’s more dangerous than drinking.
For the record…
New research this summer actually found being under the influence of alcohol is more likely to increase the chances of unsafe sexual behaviour than being high.
Side note: stoned sex was also more likely to be described as better.
“The study found that both men and women reported longer and more intense orgasms on marijuana, with one woman reporting hers were ‘magnified at least by five times,” the Washington Post reported.
Honestly, I’m just relieved that Malia Obama doesn’t vape.
As for the legality of Obama’s suspected toke, small amounts of marijuana have recently been decriminalized in the state of Illinois, where the festival took place.
While she’s not the first — and likely won’t be the last — child of a President to be heavily scrutinize by the media, we have a feeling she’ll be just fine.
First Lady Michelle Obama has said her eldest daughter wants to be a filmmaker.
She’s interned on the set of HBO’s Girls and on Halle Berry’s now-cancelled TV sci-fi drama Extant, which aired on Global in Canada. She’s also had internships at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington.
Her 15-year-old sister Sasha, meanwhile, has a summer job at a seafood restaurant.
Barack Obama's eldest daughter Malia set the Internet ablaze after a photo surfaced of her with what looks like a joint. A psychologist weighs in.