Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Loves Weed, Not Growers

CANNABIS CULTURE – Back when he was a city councillor, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford went quietly on a weed attack. Yet on Wednesday August 28 Mayor Ford revealed, “I smoked a lot of pot.”

The question I’m thinking is, “Did councillor Rob Ford create an anti-grow bylaw while puffing all that pot?” The mayor’s office has refused to say when he stopped or even whether he has stopped doing hits from the bong.

It’s well known Ford was on Team Green, but I suspect he’s moved on to the hard stuff now. He was charged by Florida police and plead no contest to impaired driving and marijuana possession back in 1999. Anyone who chuckles when asked about their toking and responds with “a lot of it” is a stoner.

My first encounter with Rob Ford was at the Licensing and Standards committee debate on an anti-grow bylaw and I didn’t come away despising him. I’ve never really despised him, possibly because my inner-stoner senses were deep down tingling. Maybe it’s these stoner senses that constantly have me more entertained by his antics than outraged.

After all, he did boast to smoking a lot bud on my birthday, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to proclaim April 20 Cannabis Day. Or will he?

There’s the now famous photo of Ford and I at his New Year’s Levee, which was like a weird wedding line where the groom just doesn’t know what family members are going to punch him out. Yet, it’s going to happen. I’m beaming while wishing him Happy New Year and he took the time to say the same.

It wouldn’t surprise me, in Ford’s universe, that he was puffing pot while passing that anti-grower bylaw. Just like he’d vote against vapor lounges while still smoking weed today. Will we have an ally in Ford when city council gets around to their vapor lounge bylaw review?

Cannabis Culture requests for an interview with Mayor Ford were not answered.

The first time I had ever been to council I used my opportunity to suggest an Amsterdam model. After all, if we can pass prohibition, why not a form of local legalization. Speaking directly to Rob Ford, who back then no one paid attention to, I spoke of revenue to be earned for city coffers.

Recently, Denver city council passed a 3.5% retail sales tax on cannabis, but their mayor wanted 5%. Under Colorado state law, cannabis outlets will be able to sell their weedy wares to all adults.

After my Toronto committee presentation there was dead silence. The committee hastily voted to accept my presentation without questions. I followed-up with councillors because I wanted to know why my presentation had not a single question. It was like I farted the alphabet. How did I fail? The bylaw has affected at least one medical marijuana grower.

The only councillor to reply was Rob Ford (and this was during the heady days of Mayor David Miller, when plenty of Lefties ruled council). Councillor Ford took the time to explain that I should have come to council much sooner with my concerns and that my presentation was accepted. He didn’t hate on me, maybe he just wanted to smoke a jay with me.

I wouldn’t kick Ford out of my joint circle. For the sake of our city we need to get Ford back on the bud and off the rock. Potheads might proclaim they wouldn’t toke with Mayor Ford, but when’s the last time you kicked someone out of your circle for their politics, music taste, religious beliefs or lack of, or race. Just doesn’t happen because the beauty of cannabis is that it crosses all boundaries.

Plenty of Toronto potheads would be conflicted if Mayor Ford announced he wanted more bring-your-own-bud cafes and really conflicted if he said let’s adopt the Amsterdam model. Toronto could pass a bylaw allowing cannabis cafes to operate. It’s feasible for our Toronto Public Health to oversee a bylaw for bud sales.

Watch Matt Mernagh speak about politicians who toke and marijuana’s effect on their political brand with The Globe and Mail‘s Hannah Sung. Matt is the author of Marijuana Smoker’s Guidebook: The Easy Way To Identify and Enjoy Marijuana Strains.