Seth Moulton Says He Smoked Pot at Harvard, Supports Legalization

The biggest name to back Question 4 yet.

Photo via AP

Photo via AP

The campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Massachusetts just gained a powerful ally.

In an interview with WGBH’s Boston Public Radio last week, Congressman Seth Moulton not only admitted he smoked pot while a student at Harvard in the late 90s, but declared his support for Question 4 on the November ballot, which would legalize and regulate the cannabis industry.

“I support legalization, but we do need to make sure it’s done right, and there are very legitimate concerns being brought up by the other side here,” Moulton said. “But here’s the reality. Let’s not kid ourselves. People are using marijuana. They’re using it in America, they’re using it in Massachusetts, and we have an obligation to regulate it and make it as safe as possible.”

The former Marine and Iraq War veteran disagreed with the idea of marijuana as a so-called “gateway drug” to opioids. He admitted that he tried the stuff “a couple times” while earning his physics degree in Cambridge, though he “certainly didn’t qualify as a pothead.”

“If you’re not buying your marijuana from a dealer who sells heroin, who sells opioids, it’s much less likely to be a gateway drug,” he said. “The problem is now that it operates in the shadows. There’s no control whatsoever. Someone goes and buys an edible, for example, there’s no regulation about what’s in that. It’s like moonshine under Prohibition.”

Proponents of the ballot measure have struggled to land a preponderance of high-profile pols in their corner. While City Council President Michelle Wu, Councilor Tito Jackson, and several state lawmakers have publicly backed Question 4, Sen. Elizabeth Warren declined to offer her full-throated support for legalization, instead saying she’s “open” to the idea.

Meanwhile, the opposition boasts a bipartisan coalition of state and local legislators, including Gov. Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Even Moulton’s colleague Rep. Stephen Lynch, who was once arrested for smoking weed at a Willie Nelson concert at the 1977 Illinois State Fair, opposes legalization.


“One of the advantages of legalization is that it will force us to come to terms with things that are already happening in Massachusetts today, like people driving under the influence of marijuana and kids using it,” Moulton said. “Regulation is the way to address the concerns around these issues and actually try to make it safe. But that’s not going to happen if it’s simply illegal.”