The Choom Gang was a group of stoners Obama hung out with at Punahou Academy in Honolulu. Actually, he didn’t just hang out with them. As with every other organization he’s joined in his life, from the Harvard Law Review to the U.S. Senate, Obama was a leader of the pot smokers. David Maraniss investigated the Choom Gang for his biography Barack Obama.
“As a member of the Choom Gang,” Maraniss writes, “Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking trends.”
The first Obama-inspired trend: “Total Absorption” or “TA”.
“TA was the opposite of Bill Clinton’s claim that as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled,” explains Maraniss. Here’s how it worked: If you exhaled prematurely when you were with the Choom Gang, “you were assessed a penalty and your turn was skipped the next time the joint came around.”
As one of Obama’s old high school buddies tells Maraniss: “Wasting good bud smoke was not tolerated.”
Another Obama innovation: “Roof Hits.”
“When they were chooming in a car all the windows had to be rolled up so no smoke blew out and went to waste; when the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling.”
Maraniss also says Obama was known for his “Interceptions”: “When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted ‘Intercepted!,’ and took an extra hit.”
Obama also joked about his marijuana use on The Tonight Show. When Jay Leno asked whether he’d inhaled, he responded, “That was the point.”