Obama's pot-smoking past is the subject of a new Taiwanese animation video based on the new book by David Maraniss: "Barack Obama: The Story." The book tells of how Obama and his teen friends formed the Choom Gang; "choom," being slang for smoking pot.
The two-minute clip by Next Media Animation, is based on Maraniss's research into Obama's teenage years in Hawaii, in the 1970s. The clip is titled "Obama and marijuana: POT-Us dope-smoking daze revealed."
The video shows Obama sitting in the Oval Office frustrated about the national economy. He is suddenly whisked back in a dream to his high school days. The video shows Obama and his friends inhaling marijuana smoke and then racing off in cars while high on the drug.
The dream ends abruptly when a friend flips the car over. Obama comes back to reality, lying on the floor of the Oval Office. The first lady is shown with her back to the camera, glaring at the president disapprovingly.
Daily Mail notes that Obama had previously admitted smoking marijuana during his teenage years as a student in Punahou School, Hawaii, and Occidental College, Los Angeles. In his 1995 autobiography, "Dreams of My Father," he wrote of how he and his friends smoked marijuana in a white classmate's van, in the dorm room and on the beach. He wrote in his memoir: "Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it."
According to The Huffington Post, it turns out that Obama was not just an occasional pot smoker, as his autobiography could be interpreted to suggest. On the contrary, Obama and his friends cultivated pot-smoking into a group art and invented some techniques for optimizing the experience. Among Obama's inventions was "TA," or "total absorption," in which if you exhaled too soon "you were assessed a penalty and your turn was skipped the next time the joint came around." Another technique Obama invented, according to Maraniss, was "Roof Hits," in which the gang rolled up car windows to stop precious pot smoke going to waste. According to Maraniss, "When the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling."
Maraniss also tells how Obama was notorious among his mates for his "interceptions," when a marijuana joint was being passed round. According to Maraniss, "He often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted 'intercepted,' and took an extra hit."
Maraniss's revelations come as a surprise to most because of the fresh insight it offers into the extent of use of the drug by Obama.
According to Maranniss, one of Obama's friends, Mark Bendix, had a Volkswagen microbus they called the "Choomwagon." The gang would drive the wagon up Mount Tantalus in Honolulu, and there they smoked marijuana, playing Aerosmith, Blue Oyster Cult and Stevie Wonder.
The revelations have raised comments about how Obama who smoked marijuana in his youth could, as president, maintain a policy of enforcing strict penalties for drug use.