Smokin' weed with Barry and the "Choom Gang"

For years we’ve wondered what dark secrets might lurk in The One’s shadowy past. I knew we’d find out one day and I knew it’d be bad, but I never imagined quite how bad.

Apparently, we elected Pauly Shore.

Maraniss portrays the teenage Obama as not just a pot smoker, but a pot-smoking innovator.

“As a member of the Choom Gang,” Maraniss writes, “Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking trends.”

The first Obama-inspired trend: “Total Absorption” or “TA”.

“TA was the opposite of Bill Clinton’s claim that as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled,” explains Maraniss. Here’s how it worked: If you exhaled prematurely when you were with the Choom Gang, “you were assessed a penalty and your turn was skipped the next time the joint came around.”…

Maraniss also says Obama was known for his “Interceptions”: “When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted ‘Intercepted!,’ and took an extra hit.”

Reason’s Mike Riggs titles his post on this, “Barack Obama punishes people for getting high; it used to be, he punished them for not getting high enough.” Plenty more details at the ABC link above, but for further reading let me recommend instead this instant classic from BuzzFeed illustrating key moments of “Choom Gang” lore with period photos. Here’s my favorite. He didn’t always lead from behind, my friends:

Coming in a close second to “Roof Hits”: “Pumping Stations.” Click over and tell me I’m wrong. And after you’ve done that, if you missed it a few days ago, watch this profane but compelling rant from Penn Jillette on the absurdity of O treating marijuana as a threat worthy of prohibition even though he managed to do okay for himself after using it — a lot, apparently. Exit question: What’s more startling about the “Choom Gang” revelations, the fact that O was so immersed in stoner culture or the fact that he was at one point a seemingly outgoing guy with lots of friends? I thought he was a loner.

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