Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pot smoking Tory

John Tory has admitted that a 30-year-old article of his, appearing in Osgoode's Obiter Dicta student newspaper, wherein he wrote about smoking pot (even while driving) and urging more lenient pot laws for traffickers, is a true account. That is what he believed, and that is what he did. He tells us now that he hasn't smoked pot since.
"That was then and this is now," he said. "I'm 30 years older, hopefully a lot wiser. I think these are experiences that kids often have that help them to learn lessons and shape their attitudes when they get older."
Right. Great. Those are great lessons to learn, provided you don't get caught. If John Tory really thinks these are worthwhile lessons, lessons that young people should learn, like he did, then he should support police taking a hands-off attitude towards young adults' pot-smoking behaviour.

Why should Tory get to learn these lessons, while others learn the lesson that getting charged with pot possession could hurt their job prospects?

Just about everybody smokes, or has smoked, pot. Very many people continue to smoke pot throughout their lives. Good for them (I've tried it, but it didn't stick. I haven't smoked pot since New Year's Eve about 12 to 14 years ago in Florida).

Let them smoke pot.

Here's more from the article:

Tory went on to reminisce about the time he and a friend were entering a Lake Simcoe marina with a half pound of marijuana aboard and noticed they were being followed by another boat with a powerful searchlight.

[Did you get that? Half a pound of marijuana!]

"I managed to persuade my accomplice not to ditch the stuff so he stuffed it down his pants and we made it to the dock without incident," Tory wrote.

The Conservative leader said he believes many people his age have similar tales to tell.

[They sure do. Some have other tales to tell. Like being caught with half a pound of marijuana, getting charged, and being fired from work.]
"I characterize (the article) as honest observations of somebody 30 years ago," Tory said. "And at the same time I listened to Jimi Hendrix and I had long hair that was almost down to my shoulders, which my father was constantly telling me to get cut because I looked like a hippie."

All three provincial leaders -- including Premier Dalton McGuinty and NDP Leader Howard Hampton -- have admitted under previous questioning by reporters to experimenting with pot or hashish as young men.

So did Chretien. Good for all of them. Now if only they would have the courage to make pot legal.


Blogger William E. Demers said...

I noticed the half pound reference and it made me laugh. The only people carrying pounds of marijuana are people who sell that weed to others. Half a pound could be smoked by friends up in cottage country, but they would've been high 24/7 for quite a while.

The unfortunate thing about weed is exactly what you've said Jaworski. A lot of people do it casually; nobody's getting hurt except themselves. And then you've got some people that get booked for it and get in a lot of trouble. That doesn't help them in the future, but is more likely to drag them down.

I'm still conflicted as to where I stand. I don't think marijuana is harmful enough to be banned, but if we legalized it we might set a poor precedent for the future; and as further studies are coming out about marijuana we are learning that it is more addictive and worse for us than had been previously thought.

1:53 p.m.  
Blogger Toronto Tory said...

Half a pound is an quite a lot of marijuana. That part puzzled me too.

Isn't that like 500-1000 joints?


2:03 p.m.  
Anonymous Fergs said...

I do not know the political value of Mr. Tory enlightening us with stories of his misguided youth. I think his PR director is worse than Sandra Buckler.

2:43 p.m.  
Blogger P. M. Jaworski said...

Fergs: I don't think his PR advisor is to blame. The article says a Liberal source slipped the article to the media, and Tory is reacting to this, rather than sharing this with the media himself.

It's good of him to be forthright about it. That's a good bit of damage control.

I also don't think it was a case of a "misguided youth." It sounds like a regular "guided youth" to me...

2:50 p.m.  
Anonymous Deepthinker said...

I am torn Peter really I am. I have had discussions about this issue with you mant times before, at your house at the very least. I think i do have a responsibility though to make a few things very, very clear. I have not nor ever intend to smoke pot, hashish or anything else for that matter. I also know of a great many GREAT many people who have done and intend to do the same. So first off I would liek to refute the claim "o everyones doin it" It is a symptom of a misinformed conscience and of no relevence to the debate. Now as a "l"iberal I do nto believe that the government should be interfering in matters that do not harm other people. i believe it is wrong as I have seen what it has done to many of my friends including one of my very best friends. It only leads to sufferig and no long term gain. the question is what about Alchol and cigarettes? Well i dont believe that they are good either. whats the difference? Well it ahs been integrated into society therefore to ban them would lead to black market ect and that market would be far worse then the marijuana one today. That brings you me to the next point. Should it be illegal? Well it does cause damage to society and I feel that it is an addiction and leads to it (except for one of my friends who has doen every drug in the book and is not addicted) but that leads to the question of well some in society can adn some in society cant? Well can those people really know? Can those people only know who can and who cant when its too late? What are teh real effects? As far as charges go I see the point and sympathize but when I see parents smoking pot in their house with their kids and then their kids comign to school high then getting into other drugs ect. it leads to concerns. it leads to questions. now I want those answered. They, like everything else iunder the Liberal goverment, was never analyzed throughly it was doen because it was seen as the "progressive" thing to do. Well i want to see the results of something before ti happens. If marijuana gets so integrated into Canadian society what effect will it have on productivity, school levels, drug dependencies, innovation ect. They question is if this gets fully integrated into society will it produce a net benefit or a net loss. So I don t know some questions about the PRACTICAL use of legalizing the stuff. Also I ahte the smell it makes me throw up!

3:49 p.m.  
Anonymous Deepthinker said...

Wow I needed to check this post first it was a rant! Hope you can figure it out!

3:51 p.m.  
Anonymous Colin Broughton said...

Outing yourself without really outing yourself, isn't that what John Tory hopes to do here. One of the least likely suspects, Conservative MP Peter Goldring used to tell a story about the night he spent hugging a tree, he was so stoned. Of course, the moral of the story is that the experience scared Goldring straight! Seriously though, if Peter Goldring has relevant expertise, just imagine how many other MPs have yet to out themselves. BTW for some people I have known, half a pound would count as a minimal security blanket. Still the boat in Tory's story *does* conjure TV images of evil drug traffickers corrupting our youth.

4:18 p.m.  
Blogger P. M. Jaworski said...

Hey Deepthinker -

I said "Just about everybody smokes pot," and not that everyone does. I agree that there are very many great people who haven't tried pot. I just think that's sort of prudish and a little silly. But that's just my opinion. And I realize that many prudish and sort of silly persons are great in spite of this.

I agree that sometimes pot can be a bad idea. But I think that it can sometimes be a bad idea just like, say, having an ant farm indoors is a bad idea. For most people, most of the time, it'll be fun, interesting, and a good time. For some, the ants will get free and run amock. That's a problem.

A few empirical disagreements. I don't believe that marijuana is a gateway drug. I don't believe marijuana leads to suffering or no long-term gain. I think it only sometimes (very rarely) does. Just like having an ant farm. Finally, I don't believe legalizing marijuana will mean that more people will try it. More will try it in the first few years but, just like in Amsterdam, that trend will taper off. Thus I envision no overall loss in innovation, productivity, and so on.

These disagreements can't be settled by argument, but by empirical data.

We can disagree about whether or not trying pot (or even using it regularly) is a good idea or not. What I'm interested in is whether or not it should be illegal, with all of the costs that that entails (including enforcement, incarceration, personal costs to people charged, and so on). I think the costs of keeping this thing illegal are so far greater than the benefits as to be an easy public policy case.

4:54 p.m.  
Anonymous Deepthinker said...

The emprical evidence is just the thing. That was what i tried to emphasize in my post. (Albeit it was not a very good one.) I tried to emphasize that it is important to look at the effects of such action and would be very favorable of before parliament started this decrminalization thing to do a full report and and analysis to look at everything we both have been saying. Look at both costs, look at society, talk to people, try and find the truth. What you said Peter we kind of disagree and in that the way to solve it is exactly as i said and you agreed is in answering the questions posted. You believe those things but the question is also is what you believe true. Thus I think more information is needed before we can come to a fully informed decision. If there is such a report out there that emprically (as that is important) lays out all of my questions then that is exactly wha I want and may dispell my reservations. My uncomfort comes from personal experience. My uncomfort comes from seeing (i startedw riting out everything but decided to keep it short.) peoples lives ruined by the stuff. An ant colony inside wont kill you but a bomb inside will.

1:45 p.m.  
Blogger Matteson said...

Oh come now, Deepthinker. A bomb as an analogy to pot? That goes too far.

I would think as a "liberal" you would be in favor of more rights as opposed to fewer. I understand the hesitancy to enact new laws. I share it with you. I don't share the intuition that we should step carefully in giving rights back to the people.

Think of all the times that rights were given to people, and find me the bad ones. Slavery, sufferage, etc were bad things and by abolishing slavery and giving people voting rights good things (or at least not bad things) were done. The world is improved.

Hmm...it strikes me now that you probably meant that "l"iberal bit to mean that you are a liberal in the US sort of meaning and not in the classical sense that PJ (and now I) find appealing. Even so, aren't more rights better than fewer?

3:15 p.m.  
Blogger mostlyfree said...

It would be fan-freaking-tastic to see some of the first policy to actually come from Tory (oh, I'm sorry... "the membership") be of the libertarian persuasion... such as legalization of pot.

Unfortunately, that's not the way I see things going...

10:20 p.m.  
Blogger Mark Dowling said...

Maybe Tory is going for the "I'm less of a stiff than McGuinty" vote. Not hard really.

3:52 p.m.  

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