Microsoft founder Bill Gates recently told Seth Rogen that he used to smoke weed as a teen to fit in with his friends.
Gates discussed his own youthful dalliance with pot along with a whole host of other issues on a recent episode of Rogen's “Unconfuse Me” podcast. The multibillionaire told Rogen and his wife, Lauren Miller, that he used to blaze the occasional joint with his high school friends. But like many young stoners of the day, Gates said that he only did it “to be cool.”
“It wasn’t so much smoking pot for pot’s sake, as it was being part of the crowd,” he explained, according to Marijuana Moment. “It’s amazing how it’s changed. You know, when I grew up, it was just kind of a rebellion thing.”
Rogen addressed the racist origins of the War on Drugs, which was specifically created to repress anti-war activists and people of color. But as more and more celebrities and professionals have opened up about their own personal experiences with cannabis, the stigma against cannabis has finally begun to fade. The comedian argued that this decreased stigmatization created a “ripple effect” that is inspiring more and more states to legalize.
“When it first came up in what Colorado [and] Washington State—you know, so my state was one of the first to have that—I thought, ‘wow, things really are changing,'” Gates said. “And the fact that you can have the federal level still have one set of rules and the state rules, there’s definitely a paradox there that got to be resolved at some point.”
Gates is still a boomer, though, and couldn't resist mentioning that the overall potency of cannabis has increased steadily since the days when he used to partake. “As you move into this legal pot world, you can be getting like really extreme doses, particularly on the edibles,” he said. “I mean, I think I know, ‘okay, if I puff five times’ what that means, whereas if you ingest I have no clue.”
Rogen heartily agreed with Gates' point, and acknowledged that he doesn't fuck with edibles either. And apparently, even hardcore cannabis lovers like Snoop Dogg steer clear of edibles as well, at least according to Rogen. The comedian, who also owns his own cannabis lifestyle company Houseplant, said he wished the US government would step in and establish federal potency regulations on cannabis products.
The conservation pivoted to a comparison between cannabis and alcohol. Gates told Rogen that he has “always wondered if we started from scratch and we said, ‘okay, society you can have one drug—you can either have alcohol or pot,'” which drug society would choose to accept. Rogen agreed that booze is far more likely to lead to bad behavior, car accidents, and mistakes than cannabis.
Prohibitionists have long argued that even a single puff of weed will transform a teen into an unmotivated, brain-damaged drug addict. But Gates has made it abundantly clear that an occasional toke isn't going to stop anyone from becoming a billionaire business tycoon. Fellow billionaire Richard Branson, actor and former Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger, President Barack Obama, have also owned up to getting high, making it even more obvious that cannabis is no impediment to success.