(File image) United States President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama was a member of a dagga smoking gang while at secondary school, it has been claimed.

He smoked the drug much of the time when he lived in Hawaii in the late 1970s, according to a biography of the US president.

While a pupil in Honolulu, he was so serious about his after-class drug habit that he belonged to a group of friends who penalised any members who didn’t inhale deeply enough.

“As a member of the Choom Gang, Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking trends,” writes author David Maraniss, an associate editor at the Washington Post.

Choom was slang in Hawaii for smoking marijuana and the young Obama was an advocate for something called “total absorption” or “TA”.

“TA was the opposite of Bill Clinton’s claim that as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled,” writes Maraniss in Barack Obama: The Story.

If any member of the Choom Gang exhaled prematurely, “you were assessed a penalty and your turn was skipped the next time the joint came around”, he adds.

Maraniss also claims Obama was known for his “interceptions”, adding: “When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted ‘intercepted!’, and took an extra hit.”

The president, now 50, has made no secret of his past drug use.

In his 1995 memoir, Dreams of My Father, Obama wrote that he would smoke “in a white classmate’s sparkling new van”, “in the dorm room of some brother” and “on the beach with a couple of Hawaiian kids”.

The president described his group as “the club of disaffection”.

The White House refused to comment. - Daily Mail