Daniels talks past drug use, arrest
February 24th, 2011
08:57 AM ET
4 years ago

Daniels talks past drug use, arrest

(CNN) – Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels not only smoked pot, he inhaled.

But the potential Republican presidential candidate said he learned a valuable lesson when, while a student at Princeton University in 1970, he was arrested and convicted for possession of marijuana – a crime that carried a $350 fine.

"I don't make excuses for anything. Justice was served," Daniels told the Daily Princetonian in an interview published Thursday. "I had used marijuana and I was fined for that, and that was appropriate."

According to the Daily Princetonian, Daniels was arrested after police officers discovered enough marijuana to fill two large shoe boxes in the dorm room he shared with two other individuals. Officers also found LSD and prescription drugs in the room.

"I had used marijuana and I was fined for that, and that was appropriate," Daniels also said, adding he fell victim to the cultural influences at the time.

"We were sort of swept up in the net … I was fined for the accurate offense and I've learned from it," he said.

Daniels also told the paper his college career as a whole marked an evolution in his political and moral views.

"I had an uncertain mooring back then. I don't think that is all that unusual at a time like that," he said. "Eventually I came to whatever is a principled and consistent view of the world. … Of course, college is supposed to force you to have to look at different views."

At one time, an admission of drug use was an almost-certain death knell for a national politician. In 1992, much was made of then-candidate Bill Clinton's reluctant admission that, while a graduate student in England, "I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn't like it. And, didn't inhale."

But the issue appeared essentially moot in 2008, when many presidential candidates admitted to marijuana use – especially then-Sen. Barack Obama who detailed his relationship with that and other drugs in the book "Dreams From My Father."

In fact, at a campaign stop in 2007, Obama even mocked Clinton's cautious words 15 years earlier:

"I never understood that line," he said. "The point was to inhale. That was the point."


Filed under: Mitch Daniels
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Jilli

    Wow, wonder if the right will rail on him like they did Obama? I doubt it, things are only bad when the other side does it. Need examples, gingrich, delay, ensign, foley, mr. widestance...

    February 24, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  2. WTF242

    now a days its like a $1000 fine and probation in NJ. $350 fine is reasonable. but what we do today to the average pot smoker, because lets be real here, the average person has smoked pot, is shameful.

    February 24, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  3. SG

    Governor Daniels has one of the most corrupt judicial sytems in his State, where prosecutors are allowed to ALTER evidence in fabricated cases and he has the ONLY judge in American history who has ever suppressed a NOT GUILTY verdict.

    February 24, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  4. George

    A convicted drug user for President of the United States? Go for it Republicans.

    February 24, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. Pete

    I'm guessing that if Daniels hadn't been privileged enough to be at Princeton he'd still be in jail today. Instead he's governor of a state and a potential presidential candidate, while tens of thousands who have been arrested for much less rot in jail while we, the taxpayers pay for their useless, unnecessary incarceration. The war on drugs has been as big a waste as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of lives and treasure.

    February 24, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. A. Goodwin

    First off, a few shoe boxes of pot is simply not one's stash – he must have been selling it! That is a LOT of pot. Secondly, pot should be legalized – period. Want to save our country from financial ruin? LEGALIZE it and get over it. Only religious zelots want to keep it non-legal at this point. Anyone with 1/2 a brain knows that it does far less damage than alcohol, can easily be controlled by our government, and would cut down on crime. The war on drugs HAS NOT WORKED. Time to try something different.

    February 24, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. Jersey Wonderfool

    Well, Mitch, what have you learned? That it was OK to use drugs while in college and then become a reborn Christian conservative? That there are no poor people since none of them ever go to Princeton University? Or may be, drug is not as intoxicating as political power and money, you probably had one before you went to Princeton and now you have other.now. Probably you never learned to live within your means or budget. OK, I do live in Princeton Junction but I do not qualify (I am one believes to live within my means) to send my children to Princeton). So come back to Princeton and learn some more, but this time please learn about how those "non-Pronctonians" live.

    February 24, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  8. chris

    This pot thing is so generational. Most Americans these days don't give a hoot about if you did pot when you were young and experimenting. Oh and this goes for both sides of the political parties.

    February 24, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. kknuth

    Not quite the WHOLE story. He was arrested for being a DRUG DEALER. I have the news articles if anyone wants to see them- drop me a line!

    February 24, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  10. Sara

    It is so funny when politicians make pot a big deal. It's not. Only non-educated propaganda brain washed people have a problem with pot. The rest of us don't give a crap.

    February 24, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. A keen observer

    How does a convicted pot smoker square with republican religious family values? Would he not be considered a heretic by the religious right? Oh, I forgot; we are talking about republicans.

    February 24, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. Josh

    Well I don't want him to be President, but at least I can respect his candor.

    February 24, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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