Obama's Pot-Smoking Days Get Animated

By Valerie Tejeda 05/30/12

A Taiwanese production re-imagines the president's days with the "Choom Gang," as told by a new biography.

An animated President Obama Photo via

President Obama’s pot-smoking days are being re-imagined for your viewing pleasure via a Taiwanese animation. The production company—Next Media in Asia—pulls from the upcoming, unauthorized biography by David Maraniss, Barack Obama: The Story, which hits stores on June 19. The books tells of the days when a teenage Obama, and his friends, smoked marijuana, forming “The Choom Gang” to do so. The 2-minute cartoon clip is titled Obama and marijuana: POT-us dope-smoking daze revealed, and shows the President sitting in the Oval Office, looking frustrated over the economy. From there, he begins to imagine the “Choomwagon” and his high school dope-smoking days in Hawaii. The clip ends with the First Lady glaring at her husband as he tries to straighten up. Maraniss has caused a stir by pre-releasing two excerpts from his book: one focuses on Obama’s sex life, the other on his drug use—claiming that Obama was considered the “rule maker” of the Choom Gang and that he smoked to “total absorption.” Maraniss writes, “When the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling. Wasting good bud smoke was not tolerated.” He also claims that Obama was known for his pot “interceptions” when smoking a joint with friends: “He often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted 'intercepted,' and took an extra hit.” Obama’s past drug use first came to light in 1995 when the president candidly admitted to it in his autobiography Dreams from My Father, writing, “Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it.”  

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix, Salon.com, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.