Bill Gates Backs Legal Weed in Washington

By Shawn Dwyer 01/22/14

The founder of Microsoft has publicly thrown his support behind the ‘experiment,’ though he declined to say whether or not he liked to partake.


Bill Gates, founder of software giant Microsoft turned international philanthropist, recently confirmed in an interview with Buzzfeed that not only did he vote yes on legal weed in his home state of Washington, but also said it would be “interesting” to see how legalization develops. “It’s an experiment, and it’s probably good to have a couple states try it out to see before you make that national policy,” Gates said.

Gates confirmed that he voted in favor of Washington Initiative 502, the statewide ballot measure that legalized pot in 2012. “I think people are going about this trying to make sure it’s labeled well, trying to make sure you’re collecting taxes so more than any of the additional state costs that will get imposed by this thing are funded by the consumers,” he said. Gates did, however, express some concern about the new law. “Can they keep it out of minors’ hands? Will it reduce alcohol consumption? Are there some people who use it at levels you might think of as inappropriate? Will drug gangs make less money?”

Ultimately, Gates felt one of the biggest benefits of legalized marijuana would be the blow suffered by those selling illegal drugs, saying that dealers “are going to make a lot less money, and some of the perverse things about the illegal drug trade will be avoided.”

Of course, the entrepreneur was pressed about whether or not he enjoyed smoking himself, a question he flatly refused to answer, though he has alluded to drug use in the past, particularly in a 1994 interview with Playboy magazine where Gates all but confirmed that he experimented with LSD in his youth.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.