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3 Winnipeg city councillors admit to past pot use

08/23/2013 05:34 EDT | Updated 10/23/2013 05:12 EDT
The political and social media world are abuzz with talk of marijuana after federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau admitted to smoking pot after he was elected as an MP.

Trudeau made the admission in an interview on Thursday. He has been clear in previous interviews he supports the legalization and taxation of marijuana in Canada.

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Reaction was mixed, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper saying Trudeau’s actions “speak for themselves” while many Canadians lauded his honesty.

On Friday, local politicians weighed in on whether or not they had ever smoked pot.

At least three Winnipeg councillors admitted to smoking pot, while others said they “wouldn’t even know what it looks like.”

Coun. Ross Eadie, Coun. Brian Mayes and Coun. Jenny Gerbasi all told CBC via email they had smoked pot in the past.

Manitoba NDP MLA Melanie Wight didn’t confirm or deny when asked. Instead, she said, “If I did do that, that would not be the worst mistake I made in my life. Let me tell you, I wish it would’ve been.”

Eadie, Mayes and Gerbasi all said they smoked pot before becoming city councillors.

Eadie explained he smoked regularly about 30 years ago and when asked if he thought whether or not a politician smokes or has smoked marijuana is an important issue, he said, “Unless an elected politician is found to be acting unreasonably while doing the functions of the office, I fail to see why any information about marijuana smoking should be an issue.”

He added that alcohol has been a more significant issue for the Mynarski ward he was elected to represent.

“I would go so far as to say that marijuana, without consumption of any other drug, leads to more reasonable behaviour towards others,” Eadie said.

Mayes said he used the drug when he was a student and didn’t see anything wrong with that.

“I think someone still smoking while they are an elected official would still be an issue as long as [marijuana] is still illegal,” he said. “Speaking personally, it would not affect my view of a politician.”

Gerbasi said she was a teen when she smoked, but said she didn’t think it was an issue for politicians.

“I don't think it is an issue for most people if it is in your past. It might be an issue if it was an open recurring habit,” she said.

Other city politicians flatly denied they had ever smoked marijuana.

Mayor Sam Katz told CBC he doesn’t drink alcohol either. “[I] don’t smoke, don’t drink. Never smoked pot,” he said.

Kevin Chief, the NDP MLA for Point Douglas, also said he’d never used the substance.

Tory MLA Ron Schuler said he “wouldn’t even know what it looks like.”

As for Canada’s federal Liberal Leader, some local politicians don’t think it’ll cause major problems for him.

“It doesn’t matter. It’s common enough. The chiefs of police would not be saying, ‘Give a ticket,’ if it were a serious problem,” said Coun. Harvey Smith.

Smith was referring to a recent vote from Canadian police chiefs that showed officers were in favour of giving tickets instead of charges to people found with small amounts of marijuana.

Wight agreed with Smith.

“Do I think Justin Trudeau’s issue is a real issue? No. I’m one of those that thinks the real issue is that he doesn’t not drink coffee. I’m really concerned about that,” she joked.

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