Turns out young Barack Obama was a fairly frequent weed smoker, according to a forthcoming biography by David Maraniss:

A self-selected group of boys at Punahou School who loved basketball and good times called themselves the Choom Gang. Choom is a verb, meaning “to smoke marijuana.”

[…]

Barry also had a knack for interceptions. When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted “Intercepted!,” and took an extra hit. No one seemed to mind.

This shouldn’t and won’t bear on Obama’s reelection prospects, which seems about right. But we shouldn’t ignore it, particularly given the president’s recent campaign against medical marijuana in states that have legalized it. It’s past time that public officials who have smoked weed acknowledge that youthful marijuana use doesn’t consign individuals to a life of crime and addiction, and that current policy is at odds with that basic fact. 

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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