More than three decades have passed since Bill Clinton famously (and dubiously) admitted that he "experimented with marijuana" but "didn't inhale." This week, the disgraced former president finally acknowledged the benefits of legal weed.
Clinton on Tuesday praised the "very encouraging" results of clinical trials to examine the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on post-operative pain. Numerous studies have shown that CBD can also help reduce stress and anxiety, which could have personal implications for Clinton himself given the fact that he remains married to a scorned and ruthlessly ambitious woman whose lifelong goal was thwarted by a reality television star who didn't actually want to be president.
"When I was in England I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and didn't like it," Clinton said during an interview while running for president in March 1992. "I didn't inhale and I didn't try it again." The comments were widely mocked at the time and for years afterward. This was before our cultural elites decided that making fun of Democrats was not socially acceptable and did not count as "comedy." The ridiculous statement was yet another example of how Clinton earned the nickname "Slick Willie." Years later, he would be impeached and disbarred for lying under oath.
Speaking of which, Clinton's statement in response to the CBD trials—conducted by New York University in partnership with TR Processing LLC—included a rather dubious claim about the Clinton Foundation's role in the opioid epidemic. The Clintons' controversial so-called charity, which has struggled to raise money after Hillary Clinton's failed presidential run in 2016, has "worked for years to reduce opioid addiction and deaths," the former president said. Hence his support for CBD and other "non-addictive alternatives."
Unfortunately, there are a number of problems with that statement. As the Washington Free Beacon reported in 2016, several members of the notorious Sackler family—the Perdue Pharma dynasty widely considered to be the main culprit of the opioid epidemic—are Clinton Foundation donors.
Dr. Mortimer Sackler, who purchased the company with two of his brothers in 1952, donated between $25,001 and $50,000 prior to his death in 2010. He was not the only member of the opioid dynasty to funnel money to the Clintons. Mortimer's nephew Jonathan Sackler and sister-in-law Jillian Sackler both donated to Hillary's failed presidential campaign in 2008.
Perdue Pharma earned billions selling the addictive painkiller OxyContin, which was approved for sale in 1995, during the Clinton administration. Earlier this year, Purdue Pharma agreed to pay a $6 billion settlement for its role in the opioid crisis after persuading several state attorneys general to grant immunity to members of the Sackler family.
In 2015, the Clinton Foundation announced a partnership with Spencer Williamson, the CEO of a pharmaceutical firm that would become the subject of a congressional inquiry for price gouging. Virginia-based Kaleo Pharmaceuticals was widely denounced in 2017 for raising the prices of its Evzio auto-injector device—used to treat opioid overdoses—by 680 percent over three years.
Alas, the Clinton Foundation is a shadow of its former self. Donations and lucrative partnerships are harder to come by these days. After raising a whopping $62.9 million in 2016 when Hillary was running for president, the so-called charity reported just $16.3 million in contributions in 2020.
WFB FACT CHECK
Claim: "The Clinton Foundation has worked for years to reduce opioid addiction and deaths."
Verdict: 3.5 Clintons.