Press-Republican

Columns

September 6, 2013

Canadian reefer madness

One wouldn’t call Ottawa the latter-day Haight-Ashbury; nor were the damp past two months akin to the Summer of Love.

Yet it seems Canadians were talking an awful lot about getting high, specifically on pot, as in weed, bud, grass, cannabis, herb — take your pick.

It all started in mid-August when an article appeared in the Canadian edition of The Huffington Post containing what most commentators agreed was an astonishingly candid interview with Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau.

The Post had invited the three main party leaders to respond to the question: “when did you last smoke marijuana?” This was a no-brainer for Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who pleaded a life-long case of asthma that prevented him from smoking anything. Opposition and New Democratic Party Leader Thomas Mulcair admitted he had partaken of pot but provided no details.

Trudeau, however, summoned the Huff reporter to his Parliament Hill office to confess that he has smoked marijuana five or six times — and not that long ago. Indeed, he says, three years ago he had taken a hit off a joint passed around at a dinner party in his own backyard when the kids were with grandma.

While the admission that the 42-year-old Trudeau had sampled weed probably surprised few, some political foes condemned him for flaunting the law and setting a bad example while he was a sitting member of Parliament.

Since the story broke, a long parade of politicians have come clean on their pot pasts. Surprisingly, very few stated they had never, ever put lips to spliff.

Indeed, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, whose alleged use of stronger drugs has stirred controversy, gleefully admitted he’s “smoked a lot.”

Just as one cannot unsmoke a joint, it was clear that Trudeau’s confession was intended to get Canadians tripping on the question of the law and marijuana. His interview and subsequent public statements have sparked a heated debate on the continued criminalization of the use of marijuana.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time