Was Osama a pothead? Marijuana found growing alongside bin Laden compound

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, May 4, 2011 16:53 EDT
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Among the various vegetable crops growing alongside the bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a row of marijuana plants was also discovered by CNN reporter Nic Robertson.

It begs the question: was Osama bin Laden a pothead?

Of course, the answer to that is in no way clear. The plants very well could have been for one of the other individuals who stayed at the compound, or another local entirely. Reports from the scene indicated that as many as three dozen people shared the three-story house, including as many as 23 children.

Some have speculated that the al Qaeda leader may have been using the marijuana as a medicine. If he was indeed on dialysis, as an unnamed U.S. intelligence source told Asiaweek back in 2000, then he could have used marijuana as a painkiller. That story ultimately led to numerous conspiracy theories about bin Laden’s death, mostly based on hearsay and speculation, and the claim was ultimately never proven.

Marijuana is not known to have negative effects on the liver or kidneys, but also it is also not known for any particularly positive effects on those organs either.

Bin Laden’s associates were also said to have regularly purchased Coca-Cola and Pepsi from the local market in Abbottabad, and the shopkeepers have told reporters that they didn’t prefer one over the other and usually bought both in bulk at the same time.

Some local residents have further told reporters that they often would not return balls accidentally kicked over their walls by nearby children, opting instead to pay for their replacement.

And, in perhaps the greatest stroke of irony, the outside wall of the compound featured an advertisement soliciting women to get an education: something that bin Laden’s own warped view of Islam had never accepted.

The video below is from CNN, broadcast May 3, 2011. (Skip to 2:30 to see the plants.)

(H/T: Good Magazine.)

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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