Has Bernie Sanders Smoked Weed? The Vermont Senator Has Been Open About What He Has And Hasn't Done
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described "democratic socialist," announced his presidency in May and has since been seen as a runner-up to Hillary Clinton in the race to become the Democratic presidential nominee. But with Sanders gaining on Hillary Clinton in the polls, and The Hill reporting Clinton's team is "worried" about the Sanders campaign, Bernie Sanders is increasingly being seen as having a real chance. But how does Sanders feel about getting high?
In an interview in June 2015 with Katie Couric, Sanders openly admitted, "I smoked marijuana twice. Didn’t quite work for me," explaining that he "coughed a lot." He also added, “It’s not my thing, but it is the thing for a whole lot of people."
Sanders has always been open about his experience with marijuana. In a 1972 interview in Chittenden Magazine he said, "Yes, I have smoked marijuana."
Mother Jones reported that Greg Guma, an activist who "traveled in the same circles as Sanders" said that Sanders "described himself once in my hearing as 'the only person who did not get high in the '60s.'"
Watch his June 2015 interview with Katie Couric on Yahoo News. He discusses marijuana at 29:04.
Despite his progressive stance on most issues, like advocating for environmentalism and universal healthcare, when it comes to the legalization of marijuana, Sanders' stance may surprise you.
In an interview with TIME, Sanders says he supports the use of medical marijuana. But his position is not quite blunt when it comes to recreational use. The Washington Post reported called Sanders "a disappointing socialist ex-hippie." On legalization, Sanders is somewhat hesitant and worried about the "war on drugs."
What I can tell you is this: We have far far far too many people in jail for non-violent crimes, and I think in many ways, the war against drugs has not been successful, and I think we've got to rethink that.
Other political figures have been surprisingly forthcoming about their marijuana usage. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton told Christiane Amanpour in a 2014 interview that she has never smoked marijuana. Laughing, she said, "I didn't do it when I was young, I'm not going to start now."
Hillary Clinton's comments contrast with her husband Bill Clinton's infamous comment on marijuana, saying, "I didn’t inhale," during his 1992 campaign.
Barack Obama, like Sanders, has said he tried marijuana. According to The New York Times, in his 1995 book, Dreams From My Father, Obama says that he tried drugs as a teenager, including marijuana.
At the White House Correspondents' Dinner in April, President Obama riffed on Sanders and his campaign, saying, "Apparently some folks want to see a pot-smoking socialist in the White House," according to The Huffington Post.
Sanders may come off as a total hippie, with his progressive, socialist-like policies, but when it comes to marijuana, he strays from the "pot-smoking socialist" stereotype.