23 Dec North American Leaders
In terms of influential people in the world who have used marijuana, politicians are some of the most controversial and sometimes surprising figures to admit to it. The use and support of marijuana have become less of a stigma in recent years, although many have still been reluctant to admit to it. That said, we do know of a fair number of politicians in North America that have used marijuana at some point in their lives – and these leaders have certainly left their marks on the continent (and the world) in ways that have nothing to do with the herb at all.
A former film actress and the First Lady of the United States (married to President Ronald Reagan), Nancy Reagan is a household name in the United States. She and her husband occupied the White House from 1981 until 1989, the beginning of which was during an economic recession.
Reagan’s main focus a year after moving into the White House was her drug abuse awareness and education campaign called the ˝Just Say No˝ campaign. This focus never stopped, including after she left the White House. She founded the Nancy Reagan Foundation for drug prevention programs that took place after school.
After Ronald Reagan died in 2004 from Alzheimer ’s disease, she became an advocate of stem cell research (even though it went against fellow Republican George W. Bush’s stance on the issue). Ultimately she received many awards after her time as First Lady.
Although Nancy Reagan is known best to many for her famous ˝Just Say No˝ campaign against drugs of all kinds (including marijuana), she also has been found out for using marijuana at least once in her life. She and her husband allegedly smoked weed at a 1960s dinner party.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, first a world-famous bodybuilder, a Hollywood star, and then a Republican governor of California, has once again returned to the silver screen. The 69-year-old, born in Austria in 1947, has built up quite the resume of accomplishments.
As a bodybuilder, Schwarzenegger won five Mr. Universe titles and six Mr. Olympia crowns. He helped turn bodybuilding into a popular sport in the United States and abroad. Known for his wit and charm, he soon moved on to action films, starring in movies such as Stay Hungry (for which he won a Golden Globe award) and The Terminator. He was well known for his hard work and unlimited ambition.
Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California in 2003 during a time of economic difficulty and was re-elected easily in 2006. Arnold Schwarzenegger is another North American politician who is known to have smoked marijuana and has even admitted to doing it. This was first pointed out in 2002 before his first bid for governor. Footage was re-released from a former documentary, Pumping Iron, that showed him taking a drag of marijuana.
Schwarzenegger had previously been on record saying he hadn’t taken drugs. When asked about it later, he responded: ˝That is not a drug, it’s a leaf.˝
One of the most famous men in United States history, Thomas Jefferson was certainly a prominent North American leader. Born in Virginia in 1743, Jefferson grew up in Great Britain’s American Empire. He grew up in a prominent household and went on to study law. By the year 1767, Jefferson was an established lawyer.
Jefferson was on board with American independence from Great Britain right off the bat. He wrote “A Summary View of the Rights of British America,” further establishing his name as a revolutionary and writer. Given his status as a lawyer, writer, and supporter of the revolution, he was soon attending Congress sessions and was chosen to write the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
He had a number of other accomplishments, including writing the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom as well as serving as governor of Virginia, Ambassador to France, the first Secretary of State, Vice President, and the third President of the United States. He died in 1826.
Jefferson is known for a famous quote: “Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.” There is some disagreement about whether he actually ever said or wrote this, but other sources assert that he served as Ambassador to France during their hashish era. It is also claimed that he took hemp seeds from China to America. In any case, it is known that growing hemp was a common undertaking in America at this time.
The current Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Liberal party of Canada, Justin Trudeau is a prominent name in North American politics and leadership these days. The son of a (now) former Prime Minister of Canada, Trudeau grew up in the spotlight.
He was first elected to Parliament in the year 2008 and, after that, he became the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada in 2013. Just two years later, he won the seat of Prime Minister and his party won the election. He has been Prime Minister since 2015.
He originally avoided the political world, starting his career as a teacher before eventually coming into politics in 2006. He is the second youngest person to ever be elected Prime Minister in Canada. His victory in 2015 was not only for him, however, but also for his party, which gained the largest increase of seats ever: 148 more seats went to the Liberal party in Parliament.
Trudeau prides himself on having full transparency, and when asked about whether or not he has smoked marijuana, he willingly explained that he has done so five or six times in his life. He is a supporter of legalizing marijuana for the purposes of not unnecessarily ruining lives simply for possessing marijuana as well as keeping it regulated and out of the hands of minors.
The 44th president and the first African American president of the United States, Barack Obama served as the president of the United States from 2008 until 2016.
Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961 and began his political career by studying political science at Columbia University in New York City. Two years after graduation he moved to Chicago and began working as a community organizer for low-income residents of the South Side. In 1688 he went to Harvard Law School, from which he graduated in 1991. He then became a civil rights lawyer in Chicago, then ran for Illinois State Senate in 1996. He ran for US House of Representatives in 2000 but was unsuccessful. He was elected to the US Senate in 2004.
In 2007 he began his campaign to run for president. He defeated Republican John McCain and was elected president in 2008 for the Democratic party. He inherited a plethora of issues: the Great Recession, two wars, and poor international favorability. He was elected a second term in 2012. While in office he managed to end the Great Recession, receive a Nobel Peace Prize, reform health care, regulate big banks, finalize an international climate change agreement, and more — all without having any personal scandals.
During his 2007 and 2008 presidential campaign, Obama admitted to smoking marijuana during his secondary school years in Hawaii. He has been recorded saying, “I inhaled frequently. That was the point.” Although he never legalized marijuana in the United States, in an exit interview he asserted that marijuana should be treated like tobacco or alcohol.