News Americas

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Obama 'was dope-gang member'

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.

Jon Swaine in Washington

HE is not the first president of the United States to confess to experimenting with drugs before the gruelling demands of Washington took over.

However, while Bill Clinton notoriously "didn't inhale" at Oxford, Barack Obama took a more enthusiastic approach to smoking marijuana, according to a new biography.

As a secondary school pupil in Honolulu, Hawaii, in the late 1970s, Mr Obama is said to have been a member of the "Choom Gang", a group of boys who played basketball and choomed, or smoked dope.

"Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking trends," according to David Maraniss, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

Any Choom Gang members caught exhaling before absorption faced being "skipped the next time the joint came around", according to 'Barack Obama: The Story'. Mr Maraniss adds: "When a joint was making the rounds, he (Mr Obama) often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted 'intercepted!' and took an extra hit."

He also reportedly popularised "roof hits" after smoking in cars with the windows closed: "When the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling."

Former members told Mr Maraniss that the gang's favoured vehicle was a "Volkswagen bus, also known as the Choomwagon".

The disclosures are unlikely to harm Mr Obama. In addition to a relaxation in attitudes towards soft drugs since Mr Clinton's confession 20 years ago, voters knew in 2008 that Mr Obama had also tried cocaine while at university in New York.

Recalling struggles from that time in his 1995 memoir, 'Dreams From My Father', Mr Obama wrote: "Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it."

A Rasmussen poll earlier this month claimed that 56pc of Americans favoured legalising and regulating marijuana.

Mr Maraniss writes that Ray, a long-haired hippie, was the group's drug dealer. "Many years later they learned that he had been killed with a ball-peen hammer by a scorned gay lover."

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney -- Mr Obama's presumed Republican opponent -- faced embarrassment over claims about a gang he led at Cranbrook School, Michigan, in 1965, which allegedly pinned down a pupil who was presumed to be homosexual and forcibly cut off his fringe with scissors. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News