Which 2016 Candidates Have Smoked Pot?

August 27th 2015

Among a list released by the nation's largest marijuana policy organization of the "Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Consumers" are several of the 2016 presidential candidates, and President Barack Obama, who tops the list.

According to the list, compiled annually by the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, at least eight of the 23 major-party contenders have either hinted at or explicitly said they have consumed marijuana. As many as 17, the list notes, could have consumed the drug, but have not explicitly said either way, and did not respond to requests from MPP.

According to the MPP, the candidates that have strongly indicated previous marijuana use are:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I)

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R)

Sen. Rand Paul (R)

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R)

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (D)

Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R)

Eight candidates, including Dr. Ben Carson (R), Carly Fiorina (R), former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (R), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), and former Sen. Jim Webb (D)—along with one potential candidate Vice President Joe Biden—have not given clear indications one way or the other. Only six candidates—former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), Donald Trump (R), and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R)—say they have never used the drug.

The bar is admittedly low to be included in the list: a person must be alive, a U.S. citizen, and have consumed pot at least once in their lifetime according to personal statements or credible sources. Current consumption nor support of marijuana policy reform were requisite factors.

"About one out of every two Americans has used marijuana, including a whole lot of very successful people," Mason Tvert, director of communications for MPP, said in a statement. "There are a lot more out there that we don't know about because it is illegal. Marijuana is a less harmful substance than alcohol. Adults who use it responsibly should not have to choose between keeping it a secret or admitting to a crime," he said.

"In addition to potentially becoming our next president, these marijuana consumers are playing a major role in the national political dialogue," Tvert said. "Win or lose, they are guiding the debate and influencing the positions of others both within and outside of their parties."

"Of the nearly two dozen major-party candidates running for president, fewer than one-third are willing and able to admit they never used marijuana," Tvert said in a statement. "And one of them is married to the fourth most influential marijuana consumer in America [Bill Clinton]. Times have changed, and so have public attitudes toward marijuana."

Collectively, the "2016 Presidential Hopefuls" took the number two spot on the list. Other public figures on the list include Jay Z, Bill Gates, Jon Stewart, Rush Limbaugh, Maureen Dowd, and Glenn Beck.


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