Light up: George Michael smokes cannabis during the TV interview
Astonishing photographs today showed George Michael openly smoking a cannabis joint during a television interview.
The 43-year-old star, who has twice been cautioned for possessing the drug after being found slumped in his car, lit up backstage in Madrid and defended his use of it.
Michael said of his fondness for cannabis, which is still illegal in Britain: "This is the only drug I've ever thought worth taking ...
"This stuff keeps me sane and happy. I could write without it ... if I were sane and happy. I'd say it's a great drug - but obviously it's not very healthy. You can't afford to smoke it if you've got anything to do."
Michael's comments, reproduced in today's Daily Mirror, are bound to upset many parents and anti-cannabis campaigners.
They come as fears grow over the use of superstrong cannabis such as skunk by increasing numbers of young people.
Skunk has been linked by police to a rise in street violence and burglaries in parts of London.
But during the in-depth TV interview, to be screened on the South Bank Show on 31 October, Michael said cannabis was "very good for creative people".
However, he added a note of caution, stating: "It can be a terrible, terrible drug."
"You've got to be in the right position to take it. You've got to have achieved most of your ambitions because it chills you out to such a degree that you could lose your ambitions."
Michael, who last month was cautioned for possession of the drug after he was found slumped at the wheel of his car near his north London home, said he had dabbled with other drugs, but regretted using all of them except cannabis.
He said: " There's not another drug in my life that I'm glad I took, but grass.