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Bill Clinton Encourages States to Experiment With Legalization

The man who didn't inhale calls for states to decide marijuana legalization for themselves.

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By Bryan Le

06/30/14

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Former President Bill Clinton says it should be up to the states to decide whether they want to legalize, and inhale, marijuana.

"Look, I think there's a lot of evidence to argue for the medical marijuana thing," Clinton said in an NBC interview. "This really is a time when there should be laboratories of democracy, because nobody really knows where this is going. Are there adequate quality controls? There's pot and there's pot; what's in it? What's going to happen? There are all these questions."

He did throw his support behind states like Colorado and Washington in their experiments with marijuana laws.

"I think we should leave it to the states," Clinton said. "If the state wants to try it, they can. And then they'll be able to see what happens."

Clinton's statements are a far cry from his answer when asked during his 1992 presidential campaign whether he had ever tried pot. "When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two and didn’t like it,” Clinton said of his time as a student at Oxford in the late 1960s. “I didn’t inhale, and I didn’t try it again.”

Reflecting on the comment last year, the former president derided the ridicule that followed in an interview with TIME. "I didn’t say I was holier than thou. I said I tried. I never denied that I used marijuana,” Clinton said. “I told the truth. I thought it was funny. And the only journalist who was there said I told the truth.”

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