Flashback: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s Pot and Heroin Busts in the '70s and '80s

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in his late teens and today

Forty years sober, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. turned down Bill Maher's offer of a joint on his latest Club Random podcast.

Nearly 53 years ago on July 10, 1970, Kennedy and his cousin Robert Shriver were arrested for marijuana possession in Barnstable, MA on Cape Cod. Both were just 16 at the time. Kennedy and Shriver were among 12 teens who got caught in the sting. Tried as juveniles, they each received sentences of 13 months' probation on August 6. Kennedy was kicked out of several private schools for using drugs.

Thirteen years later on Sept. 17, 1983, Kennedy was charged with heroin posession in Rapid City, SD. Then 29, Kennedy drew the attention of authorities when he got sick on a plane heading to South Dakota. A search of his bag produced a small amount (two-tenths of a gram) of the drug. He again received probation, plus community service, after pleading guilty in 1984.

Kennedy checked into a New Jersey treatment center two days after the arrest and was released five months later in February. He says he's been clean ever since, some four decades later.

In 1984, his younger brother David died of a drug ovedose. His cousin Patrick, son of Teddy Kennedy, had a cocaine problem as a teenager and went into rehab for OxyContin and alcohol abuse in 2006 after being charged with DUI. He's since become an staunch anti-drug crusader.

Now 69, RFK Jr. is challenging Joe Biden for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2024. Responding to a Marijuana Moment article about Ron DeSantis, he tweeted: "DeSantis' opposition to marijuana decriminalization is wrong. I will decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. Current situation with contradictory state + federal laws is absurd. States should be able to decide without federal interference."

RFK Jr. is known for environmental activism and conspiracy theories. He opposed the roll-out of Covid vaccines and favors Russia in its war against Ukraine.


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.