By Julian Hattem - 01/22/14 10:36 AM EST
Bill Gates supported the push to legalize marijuana in Washington state in 2012.
Gates said he voted in support of the statewide referendum to allow adults to buy and smoke marijuana recreationally.
“It’s an experiment, and it’s probably good to have a couple states try it out to see before you make that national policy,” he said in an interview with BuzzFeed on Tuesday.
“I think people are going about this trying to make sure it’s labeled well, trying to make sure you’re collecting taxes so more than any of the additional state costs that will get imposed by this thing are funded by the consumers,” he added.
The Washington initiative, which goes into effect this year, passed with 56 percent of the vote in 2012. A similar effort also passed in Colorado.
Gates refused to say whether or not he had smoked marijuana, BuzzFeed reported, but he was ranked among the 50 “most influential marijuana users” by the Marijuana Policy Project this year.
Public tolerance for the drug has increased in recent years. According to multiple national polls, more than 50 percent of the public supports legalizing weed for recreational use.
President Obama has admitted to past drug use, and said in an interview with The New Yorker that marijuana is “not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life.”
“I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol,” the president added.
Still, lawmakers have been reticent to light up.
Members of Congress from Colorado and Washington — even those that support legalization — have told The Hill that they won’t smoke pot regardless of whether or not it is against the law.