George Michael says trying to smoke less marijuana

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LONDON, Sep 30 (Reuters) British singer George Michael is trying to reduce his consumption of marijuana, the pop star told the BBC today.

''I'm constantly trying to smoke less marijuana. I'd like to take less and to a degree it's a problem,'' Michael told BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs programme.

''Is it a problem in my life? Is it getting in the way of my life? I really don't think,'' added Michael. ''I'm a happy man and I can afford my marijuana so that's not a problem.'' Previously Michael, who has sold more than 85 million records with hits such as ''Careless Whisper,'' has admitted to a dependency on prescription drugs and has called marijuana much less harmful than alcohol.

Britain relaxed its laws against cannabis in 2004 but warned the country's estimated 3.5 million users the drug remained illegal and possession of even a small amount could still lead to arrest.

Michael infuriated mental health charities last year by smoking a cannabis joint during a television interview and saying, ''This stuff keeps me sane and happy.'' In June the 44-year-old Michael was banned from driving for two years and sentenced to 100 hours of community service after admitting driving when unfit due to drugs.

Police had found Michael slumped behind the wheel of his Mercedes at a road junction in London in October and the prosecution said he had a cocktail of both legal and illegal drugs in his system.

Michael revealed in today's interview he has completed 50 hours of his sentence, helping people with mental health problems as well as drug addiction.

''I've also scrubbed down some very dirty rooms'', added Michael, ''and make chicken fajitas for some homeless people. I was quite good apparently.'' Michael ended years of speculation about his sexuality by announcing he was gay after he was arrested in 1998 for engaging in a ''lewd act'' in a Los Angeles public toilet.

''In a strange way I've spent the last 15 to 20 years trying to derail my own career, but it never seems to suffer,'' said Michael, who completed a 25th anniversary tour earlier this year.

''I suffer like crazy. I've suffered bereavements and public humiliations, but my career always seems to right itself like a plastic duck in the bath. In some ways I resent that.'' REUTERS SG PM1916

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