When you go to a White House state dinner and you’re lucky enough to get some face time with the president, what do you ask the president?
“I asked him if I could have a spliff,” businessman and Virgin Group honcho Richard Branson told a crowd gathered at The Atlantic’s Washington offices Thursday, the day after attending the dinner for British Prime Minister David Cameron.
“But they didn’t have any,” Branson continued, according to a video of the event as he recalled his effort to procure weed the night before at the White House.
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What’s he smoking? Well, Branson is a longtime advocate for the legalization of marijuana — and an admitted recreational pot puffer — and spoke at an Atlantic Exchange panel discussion titled “Benchmarching the War on Drugs.” Branson appeared alongside The Atlantic’s Washington Editor-At-Large Steve Clemons and Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.
The Atlantic crowd guffawed mightily, which is appropriate: Branson was quick to note that he was joking.
So passionate is Branson’s work on the issue that one audience member asked him if he’d be a Al Gore of the movement and work on a documentary on the errors of drug policies. (Branson declined, saying his son is a far better documentarian than he could ever be.)