While it already feels like light years ago, it’s been just over a week since the streets of New York erupted as people celebrated Trump’s loss and by association, Biden’s victory and the ascent of the nation’s hottest ever first son. The other big winner of the election was drugs, with Washington DC legalizing psychedelics, Oregon decriminalizing all drugs (the first ever all-drug decriminalization measure in the United States), New Jersey, Montana, South Dakota and Arizona legalizing marijuana and Mississippi and South Dakota legalizing medical marijuana.
“Across the pond” (lol) in New Zealand things didn’t come up green, with a recent referendum on legalizing recreational marijuana resulting in a narrow 50.7% win for the no vote, compared to 48.4% percent for yes. Eesh! So, while research suggests that 80% of New Zealanders have tried weed by the time they turn 25 (!) it remains illegal.
One ray of light in the lead up to the referendum was that mad dog (in the good way) Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admitted to past marijuana use in a televised debate against Judith Collins, the leader of New Zealand’s opposition National Party. This clip is worth watching for how shook the moderator is at her response alone. While Ardern added the “a long time ago” caveat, I appreciate that she didn’t follow the admission with a cop-out statement of regret or apology. However, the PM only shared that she had voted yes on legalizing cannabis after the results were announced, so as not to muddy the New Zealand public’s decision making capacity. This reminds me of when parents refuse to tell their kids how they vote, which is quaint although generally glaringly obvious anyway.
Ardern’s moment of honesty inspired me to deep dive into other politicians' admissions of drug use, which are generally surgically extracted by cunning reporters and followed up with a ridiculous claim that they hated every minute of their escapades. Either politicians are just big losers, which is likely, or they’re lying! You decide...
In 1992, Bill Clinton admitted to trying weed while studying at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, but insisted he “didn’t inhale” and “didn’t like it”, although if he didn’t inhale what was there to like? He seems like a super trustworthy man, so I will take what he says at face value! In 2006, Obama riffed on this line when disclosing his own drug use: “When I was a kid, I inhaled, that was the point.”
John F. Kennedy enjoyed a close medical and personal friendship with one “Dr Feelgood”, who was known to inject his high profile clientele with amphetamines and ultimately had his license revoked. While he never publicly admitted his drug use, legend has it that when his family urged him to stop mainlining Dr Feelgood’s concoctions, JFK quipped “I don’t care if it’s horse piss. It works.” According to this questionable website, Dr Feelgood liked to keep his “secret ingredient” under wraps: When patients asked what was in his injections, he’d say, “You’re feeling better, correct? Den zat is all you need to know.” Incredible stuff.
Then, there is this Piers Morgan interview of Boris Johnson for GQ, where pre-UK Prime Minister Johnson admits to doing “quite a few spliffs” back in the day to “jolly nice” effect. He also claims that when he tried cocaine he sneezed away most of it, but what did make it up his nostril had “no pharmacological, psychotropical or any other effect.” Ok?
On the less ridiculous end of the spectrum, last year Australian Greens Member of Parliament Cate Faehrmann became (we think) the world’s first politician to admit to using MDMA when she published this article advocating for greater transparency about illegal drug use society-wide as well as harm reduction initiatives such as pill testing at festivals. Critically, Faehrmann did not put an end date on her drug use when she stated that she’s used MDMA occasionally “since her 20s” (she’s now 50).
To round things out, here is a juicy political-adjacent drug scandal… that time Kate Moss was called out for doing coke at Nelson Mandela’s house! I wish I could read “the full incredible story”! My next question being, why was Kate Moss at Nelson Mandela’s house? For a charity event, darling! By the look of this photo of Mandela flanked by “cocaine Kate”, staring into middle distance, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Mia Farrow, the former-South African prime minister liked to keep hot girl company.
Anyway, Kate is straight edge these days and still looking slurpy. Who says crime doesn’t pay?
Xoxo slurp slurp!