Billionaires Who Have Smoked Weed

Phil Knight

The early days of NIKE were a fun time in the company’s history. Company parties included festivities involving all sorts of libations like beer kegs and joints. There was a photo floating around the company archives showing Phil Knight with a joint in his mouth. Who could blame him? Some of the best marijuana comes from Oregon, and now it’s legal. NIKE’s work/play balance was critical to early success.

Oprah

In a 2013 appearance on Bravo television show “Watch What Happens Live,” media mogul Oprah Winfrey was asked the last time she smoked pot. “Uh… 1982,” she said. “It’s been a while. I hear it’s gotten better.” Winfrey also discussed marijuana on a 2015 appearance on “The Late Show” with David Letterman. “I haven’t smoked weed in 30 years,” she said. “Really.”

Ted Turner

Ted Turner, the founder of CNN who now dedicates his time to philanthropy and the environment, is said to have smoked marijuana, though he has never commented on his alleged use publicly. A 1987 Philip Morris memo regarding a smoking ban at CNN says that Turner demanded anchorwoman Gwenn Scott give up smoking or leave the network. The memo states that Scott “went on to mention that it is common knowledge that Turner sits in his office and smokes marijuana.”

George Soros

Billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros wasn’t particularly impressed when he tried marijuana; however, that hasn’t stopped him from supporting the cause. “I have no use for drugs,” he said in a 1997 interview. “I tried marijuana and enjoyed it but it did not become a habit and I have not tasted it in many years.”

In a 2010 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, the Hungarian-born billionaire outlined his case for legalizing the drug.

“Our marijuana laws are clearly doing more harm than good,” he wrote. “The criminalization of marijuana did not prevent marijuana from becoming the most widely used illegal substance in the United States and many other countries. But it did result in extensive costs and negative consequences.”

The Washington Times reported in 2014 that Soros has spent at least $80 million on marijuana legalization efforts since 1994 through a network of nonprofit groups. Representatives for Soros dispute this figure, saying that it’s “way off” and also said that the Washington Times, a conservative outlet, “has an anti-Soros agenda.”

Bill Gates

He’s lived an amazing life. From the founding of Microsoft to the endless philanthropic work in Africa through the Gates Foundation, Bill Gates is a pretty cool dude. Oh yeah, he lives in Washington state where marijuana is legal and he’s often considered the richest man in the world.

In the 1994 biography Gates: How Microsoft’s Mogul Reinvented an Industry — And made Himself the Richest Man in America, authors Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews wrote that Microsoft founder Bill Gates “was certainly not unusual” in the arena of drugs. “Marijuana was the pharmaceutical of choice,” they wrote.

Whatever Gates’ past drug use may or may not be, he supports marijuana legalization today. Gates told BuzzFeed he voted “yes” on the 2012 referendum that legalized marijuana in his home state of Washington.

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