U.K. Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations Michael Gove admitted smoking cannabis while he was a student at University of Oxford in the 1980s, adding he “didn’t get very high.”
Times Radio podcast asked if Gove took drugs during his studies at University of Oxford, and Gove said, “Yes, I did”, adding that smoking cannabis is a “feature of the student experience for a lot of people.”
It is indeed a feature experience of college: daily cannabis use among college students increased in 2020 to a historic high.
The U.K. politician said that the weed back in the ‘80s was nothing compared to the potency of today, which is partly true thanks to sinsemilla and breeding: “If you took a look at a High Times magazine from the ’70s, you’d think our top 40 buds looked like trash by today’s standards,” Ab Hanna reported in 2017. THC levels today are cranked up in seedless, manicured buds, and concentrates as well.
“Without wanting to get too much into the policy of it, I think that the type of cannabis, marijuana that is available now will often have a far higher THC content, a far higher capacity to cause harm,” Gove added.
Asked whether he was saying that he “didn’t get very high” at university, Gove replied: “No.”
The cabinet minister went on to share his concerns about cannabis. “The other thing also is that I think that the evidence about the link between smoking too much, or ingesting cannabinoids too heavily, and mental illness and psychosis and so on, is more pronounced,” he said.
People on Twitter reacted differently to the revelations on the podcast. It’s important to note that many other U.K. former and current politicians smoked pot in the past as well, including David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Harriet Harman, Jacqui Smith, etc.
There is currently a push among the Tories and conservative leaders to make cannabis a Class A drug in the country, which would open doors for an industry.
It Sounds Familiar
You can’t help but draw comparisons to former President Bill Clinton, who also admitted on March 29, 1992 that he smoked weed during his days as a Rhodes Scholar at University of Oxford: “I’ve never broken a state law,” he said at a political forum. “But when I was in England I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale it, and never tried it again.”
However after Clinton’s first few months in office, he shifted back, mirroring the War on Drugs strategies of his Republican predecessors in the White House, and his past seemed to have no impact on his policies. This included installing the ‘Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act’ of 1994 and imposing three-strike laws for repeat drug offenders.
Cannabis isn’t the only substance in question. Years ago, Gove also admitted taking cocaine on several occasions in the past, but said he regretted those experiences after details emerged in a biography. Cocaine is also a common feature of some former U.S. presidents.
A former senior drug adviser to the government, Prof. David Nutt criticized the double standard that we often see between commoners and politicians.