The White House is putting a new meaning to its name. A white substance found in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue reportedly tested positive for cocaine, according to a preliminary field test, The Guardian reports. From fast food chain bathrooms to childhood bedrooms over Christmas, the infamous “white powder” (and we’re not talking about snow) tends to show up where authorities, whether it’s the federal government or someone’s parents, are going to make a stink about it. This time it landed in the Executive Mansion.
The U.S. Secret Service is investigating how the drugs got into the President’s home. Mind you, although Biden may be open-minded to psychedelic research, before you start any rumors, the alleged cocaine was found in a reference library “in an area accessible to tour groups, not in any particular West Wing office,” The Associated Press reports. So, most likely, some tourist ballsy (or stupid) enough to snort a line in the White House is responsible rather than anyone in the federal branch of government.
The discovery of the substance led to an elevated security alert and a brief evacuation of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue after authorities discovered it during a routine inspection. At the time of its discovery, President Joe Joe Biden was at Camp David, a country retreat for presidents hidden in the woods of Maryland. The president and first lady Jill Biden returned to the White House on Tuesday morning shortly after the discovery.
A spokesman for the Secret Service, Anthony Guglielmi, told The Washington Post that there is “an investigation into the cause and manner” of how the substance entered the White House. Authorities note that it did not pose a threat. Another official familiar with the investigation said that the amount found was of small quality. So, anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of drug use can deduce that the alleged cocaine was for personal use, not distribution. This gives credibility to the explanation that a tourist probably thought it would be cool (but dangerous) to do some white lines in the White House.
If so, it’s certainly not the first time a civilian used a visit to the White House as an opportunity to get high. The British actor Erkan Mustafa said he did a line of cocaine and smoked some cannabis while visiting the presidential resident during first lady Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drugs campaign, The Guardian reports. Considering that The War on Drugs was a generally minor component of federal law-enforcement efforts until Ronald Reagan’s presidency, in part fueled by Nancy’s “Just Say No” campaign, which was a privately funded effort to educate children on the dangers of drug use, it’s hard to be too mad at Mustafa for seeking the thrill of doing drugs in the White House at the time (although please do not try it yourself, we don’t want you to go to prison). The feds have locked up enough people for drugs; after Reagan moved into the White House in 1981, his focus on drug penalties led to increased incarcerations for nonviolent drug offenses, from 50,000 in 1980 to 400,000 in 1997.
Late last year, Biden announced he will pardon people with federal convictions for simple possession of cannabis in addition to directing General Merrick B. Garland and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to begin the process of reviewing the classification of cannabis at the federal level. As a reminder, according to the Feds, the branch of government associated with the White House, cocaine is a Schedule II drug, while cannabis is still Schedule I. Meaning, despite all we know about the benefits of marijuana, under federal law, it’s more dangerous than white lines.