How many U.S. presidents have smoked pot? The answer may surprise you

presidents pot

Cannabis may be illegal on the federal level, but that hasn’t stopped millions of people from enjoying it over the years. And while there have been tales of stoner icons like Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg smoking pot at the White House, the number of U.S. presidents who have admitted consuming cannabis may be more than you’d expect.

There are several reports online discussing the marijuana use of past presidents, but many of them are unconfirmed. Having said that, a number of modern politicians have admitted they smoked weed at one time or another. Here’s a short list of some of the presidents who’ve smoked pot—and a few whose histories remain a bit hazy.

RELATED: Hemp’s crucial role in the founding of America

Barack Obama 

It’s widely known that Barack Obama had a penchant for pot in his youth. When asked if he had ever smoked, Obama said, “When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently…that was the point.” In his memoir, the former president also admitted to trying cocaine.

Bill Clinton

When President Obama said he inhaled, it was a direct reference to former President Bill Clinton. While on the campaign trail in 1992, Clinton famously said, “I experimented with marijuana a time or two and didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale, and I didn’t try it again.” Years later, he revisited the infamous quip, saying he found the interaction “funny.”

George W. Bush

Despite his conservative leanings, George W. Bush was rumored to have a taste for cocaine in his younger days. And while he never admitted using cannabis prior to his election, Dubya later told his biographer, “I wouldn’t answer the marijuana questions. You know why? Because I don’t want some little kid doing what I tried.”

John F. Kennedy

While not confirmed, President Kennedy allegedly had weed in the White House. According to biographer Michael O’Brien, JFK smoked a few joints and then reportedly said, “Suppose the Russians did something now.”

Franklin Pierce

The 14th President of the United States, Franklin Pierce, was said to have smoked marijuana along with fellow future president Zachary Taylor while he served in the Mexican-American War. He purportedly wrote in a letter home that marijuana was “about the only good thing” to come out of the conflict.

Did the Founding Fathers smoke weed?

While it is true that Founding Fathers like George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson all grew hemp (and may even have participated in a yearly seed swap), it’s unclear whether they imbibed. It’s definitely possible that they smoked their hemp, and Jefferson did spend a large amount of time in France at a time when hashish was quite popular. However, there is no definitive proof that the Founding Fathers got high.

Cannabis is becoming more and more normalized, and the number of presidents who have smoked pot will likely only increase as time goes on. While some of the stories of past presidents toking up may only be rumors at this point, at least a few confirmed cannabis consumers have made it to the Oval Office. Maybe now the stereotype that weed gets you nowhere will finally be put to rest.


rachelle gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist, Emerald Cup judge, Budist critic, and editor of She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter