“Barack Obama: The Story” author David Maraniss unveiled a photo of the president posed with his “infamous pot-smoking” college pals known as the “Choom Gang,” according to CSPAN BookTV Sunday. Unlike former President Bill Clinton who once famously claimed he had tried marijuana but “didn’t inhale,” Obama publicly acknowledged his youthful indulgence with the organic herb. The rare photo of Barack Obama during his college years depicts a very happy looking and bare-chested young man, presumably after engaging in typical “Choom Gang” activities.
NPR excerpts republished on The Blaze note a group of buddies attending the Punahou School professed to loving “good times and basketball” and called themselves the “Choom Gang.” Choom is a slang verb meaning the act of smoking marijuana. NPR also reports that as a member of the “Choom Gang” president Obama, then referred to as Barry, was known to “start a few pot smoking trends.” The first noted was, “TA” short for ‘total absorption.’
While the idea that college students experiment with smoking pot is not earth-shattering, Obama’s admission that he enjoyed toking on a joint while is school continues to make headlines. It is unlikely that Obama is only the second president to actually mellow-out with marijuana, he is simply the first to publicly admit to engaging in the illegal act.
During an interview with Jay Leno, Obama discussed his pot smoking past and the “Choom Gang” briefly. When asked about Bill Clinton’s “did not inhale” comment, Obama laughingly responded, “that was the point, wasn’t it,” according to excerpts republished in The Blaze. Marinnis details the Obama marijuana smoking and his college years in a little bit more detail in the new book, according to Marinnas’ statements during the CPSAN BookTV Sunday broadcast.