In 1986, the “pot question” helped bring down U.S. Supreme Court nominee Douglas Ginsburg. In 1992, presidential contender Bill Clinton said he had tried marijuana but “didn’t inhale.” The Los Angeles Times says that three Democratic presidential contenders told an audience of young people yesterday that they had smoked marijuana. The Times reports that some seemed uncomfortable admitting that they had not.
The question was e-mailed to Boston’s Faneuil Hall at a CNN-MTV Rock the Vote forum among eight Democrats: “Which of you are willing to admit having used marijuana in the past?”
Howard Dean laughed nervously and said, “We’ll all keep our hands down on this one.” Eventually, Dean and Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina acknowledged they had indulged in cannabis. Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) said he hadn’t but added: “I think it ought to be decriminalized.” The Rev. Al Sharpton said he “grew up in the church” and “didn’t believe in that.”
U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut said, “Well, you know, I have a reputation for giving unpopular answers in Democratic debates. I never used marijuana. Sorry.” Retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark said he “never” used marijuana. Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois refused to answer.