If you’ve been anywhere near a screen or old-timey print publication that aims to provide you with Canadian news, you’ve most likely heard the oh so shocking news that Canada’s
dorkiest sexiest politician, Justin Trudeau has at one point in his career been stoned.
Even though Justin has been parading around praising marijuana and asking for its decriminalization, the “news” that he enjoys the chronic leaf appeared to come as a surprise to all sorts of easily surprised individuals. The fact that Justin’s soft, delicate, perfectly moisturized lips have been wrapped around a joint and/or bong is important enough to make a blip on our national radar—when King Robbie Ford is arm wrestling Hulk Hogan and sinkholes are opening in Montreal—is ludicrous. As far as I’m concerned, Justin can put his marijuana-decriminalization mouth around whatever THC-delivery device he desires.
57 per cent of Canadians are in favour of legalizing marijuana, and 66 per cent of the country thinks that weed will be legalized within the next decade.On top of that, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police voted earlier this week in favour of reforming Canada’s drug laws. They believe Canadians who are found with 30 grams or less should be given tickets, instead of having their lives ruined with a criminal record. Radical.
As a VICE writer who lives in Montreal—where on Sundays during the hippy-fest known as Tam-Tams, the cross at the top of the mountain is a challenge to see through the gigantic weed cloud—I realize I’m very biased. I’d rather laugh off a weed scandal while I put on my LARPing gear and prepare to hit my friends with giant foam Q-tips, before we all get massively blazed and smash our palms against cheap souvenir bongos, but I think the country at large should take it easy on Justin.
The anecdote he shared with a journalist from the Huffington Post about the last time he “had a puff” is probably one of the most inoffensive stories I’ve ever heard. It’s not like he’s been photographed with dead drug dealers like some other politicians, so let’s put this all into perspective. Here’s exactly what Justin said happened, 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.”
I’ve previously established how much of a try-hard JT is when it comes to being cool and edgy. So this is probably how it actually went down: Justin Trudeau is standing in the backyard of his magnificent suburban home, enjoying his favourite Canadian beer. He probably just finished performing his most famous joke—the one where he purposefully falls down the stairs in the most awkward way possible.
He’s standing by the pool, his wife clinging onto his arm, trying to entertain his guests with a “wacky youtube” someone “twittered” to him recently. He’s basically being the Justin we all know and
feel weird about love.
Then, just as he awkwardly segues into trying to explain to his guests the importance of decriminalizing marijuana, his friend says “speaking of which” and pulls out what Justin would cringingly refer to as a “sweet doobie-joint."
While Justin’s “not someone who is particularly interested in altered states,” he sure is interested in being the cool guy. As the joint gets passed from hand-to-mouth-to-mouth-to-hand, Justin begins to feel uneasy. Not because he doesn’t know whether he should smoke or not—he knows Canada’s existing drug laws are totally absurd even though he voted for bill C-15 which imposed stricter penalties for marijuana related offences—but rather, he’s wondering how he’s going to maneuver the thing. The guy has allegedly only smoked five or six times, and hasn’t mastered the art of holding a joint the way most pot-smoking Canadians have for the better part of their adult lives.
It’s finally his turn. He pinches it firmly between his thumb and forefinger and fans his other fingers out like he’s making an “okay” sign. He squeezes the poor lil’ pinner too hard, crushing the cardboard filter his friend so carefully crafted in the bathroom earlier. The unnecessary pressure applied by Justin’s strong boxing-champion hands prevents any significant amount of smoke from making it inside his body. He’s not aware of it. He’s smiling. He did it. He thinks he’s now “on pot” and high as a kite. But most importantly, he’s part of the gang. “That’s good shit,” he says and nods with a grin.
I see this episode as another way for Justin to stay relevant to Canadians. No matter what the guy does, people will talk about it. By judging from his smirk during the controversial interview in which he admitted to smoking weed as an MP, he’s happy we are talking about him—even if it’s for something as irrelevant as a single “puff.” Justin might be clumsy, but he’s surprisingly honest, and that’s something I can get down with. If people want to bash the dreamy politician that Justin is, why not pick a real issue? As Canadians, we’ve shown in the past that we don’t give much of a fuck about our leaders’ drug use. So why don’t we cut JT a bit of slack and sit back, smoke some BC Bud and enjoy one of our country’s greatest natural resources. Follow Steph on Twitter: @smvoyer