Justin Trudeau has smoked marijuana as an MP
Published on 8/26/13
Justin Trudeau, who recently endorsed the legalization of marijuana, says he has smoked pot since he became a Member of Parliament in 2008.
The Liberal leader revealed his drug history to Huffington Post Canada in an article published Thursday, admitting to having smoked pot five or six times in his life. The most recent toke was three years ago.
“We had a few good friends over for a dinner party, our kids were at their grandmother’s for the night, and one of our friends lit a joint and passed it around. I had a puff,” he told HuffPost.
The incident occurred at Trudeau’s Montreal home, about a year after he voted in favour of a bill that sought mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana-related offences and two years before the Liberal party endorsed legalization at its 2012 convention, where 75 per cent of delegates supported the change in drug policy.
Trudeau publicly came out in favour of legalization earlier in 2013. He now says legalization is the best way to keep pot away from minors, who can much more easily buy a joint than they can find cigarettes or alcohol.
In widely-reported remarks he made to a crowd in Kelowna, B.C., in July, Trudeau said: “I’m actually not in favour of decriminalizing cannabis. I’m in favour of legalizing it. Tax it, regulate. It’s one of the only ways to keep it out of the hands of our kids because the current war on drugs, the current model is not working. We have to use evidence and science to make sure we’re moving forward on that.”
Tom Mulcair and the NDP currently favour decriminalization of marijuana and Stephen Harper’s Conservatives say they will not make any moves to loosen Canada’s drug laws.
The prime minister reacted cooly to news of Trudeau’s marijuana use.
According to the Globe and Mail, Harper received a question about Trudeau during a stop at Rankin Inlet on his annual summer tour of northern Canada. He apparently paused for dramatic effect before answering in a way “that suggested he was disdainful of Mr. Trudeau’s conduct,” according to the newspaper.
“For Mr. Trudeau, I think those actions speak for themselves and I don’t have anything to add,” Harper said.
The change of heart for Trudeau comes at a time when a majority of Canadians support legalization. Trudeau isn’t afraid of staking out unpopular positions, though. In the same interview with the Huffington Post, Trudeau also said he has never smoked a cigarette and doesn’t drink coffee.
So much for winning over the Tim Hortons crowd.
Trudeau seemed to recognize what a major political blunder he had committed, tweeting on Thursday that he had perhaps been too forthcoming in his interview.
Reporters who tracked Trudeau down in Quebec City Thursday did not get any denials from the Liberal leader about his occasional pot smoking.
“No, it wasn’t a mistake,” he said.
“I’ve never tried other types of hard drugs. I am not a consumer of marijuana but, yes, I’ve already tried it. I used it — maybe five or six times in my life,” he said, adding that he no longer uses the drug.
What matters now, Trudeau said, is ending a marijuana prohibition policy that he says costs law enforcement $500 million and has left hundreds of thousands of people with criminal records since the Conservatives took office in 2006.
He has said that issue touched his own family. His youngest brother, Michel, was charged with marijuana possession shortly before his 1998 death in an avalanche.
Trudeau’s admission will doubtless give more fodder to the Conservatives, who’ve been pointing to his support for legalizing and regulating marijuana as evidence that he doesn’t have the judgment to be prime minister.