Questions about Al Gore's use of marijuana first arose in Gore's campaign for Congress in 1976, but only in an off-the-record conversation with a reporter from the Nashville Tennessean. Not until his presidential run in 1988 did the matter force significant public comment from Gore.
At a 1988 press conference, Gore admitted to experimenting with cannabis a few times during his Vietnam years and immediately afterward. But this, he argued, needed to be understood in the context of a great "period of change" in the nation, as well as in himself. "Like many others in my generation," he said, "my life reflects the times." The matter seemed to be over before it started.