Pubdate: Tue, 28 Nov 2006
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 The London Free Press
Author: Antonella Artuso, Free Press Queen's Park Bureau


TORONTO -- Ontario Conservative Leader John Tory used marijuana as a 
high school and university student, once favoured lighter sentences 
for pot traffickers and even drove while "stoned."

The revelations are contained in a 30-year-old newspaper column Tory 
wrote as a law student for Obiter Dicta, the official student 
newspaper of Osgoode Hall Law School at York University.

A copy of the article was provided to Sun Media by a Liberal source.

Tory, 52, said in an interview yesterday he was writing honestly 
about his experiences with weed, but he hasn't used it since those early days.

"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."

Over the weekend, Tory toured a Toronto apartment building that was 
used as a marijuana grow op and called on the Ontario government to 
push for much tougher sentencing for grow op offences.

In his law student article, Tory said he favoured decriminalization 
of pot, thought it was "absurd" to throw marijuana traffickers in 
jail and even mused about selling it as a legal product like alcohol.

Tory said yesterday he still believes it's unfair to give someone the 
stigma of a criminal record for simple possession but now believes in 
tougher sentences for traffickers.

The youthful Tory wrote he used marijuana "to some extent" in high 
school and in his first year of university but hadn't touched the 
stuff in several years.

"At the time, I really saw nothing wrong with it, although on certain 
occasions in certain circumstances I was somewhat paranoid of the 
badge swooping down and carting me away," he wrote.

Tory advised his fellow student readers that while a few tokes of 
marijuana "in his head anyway" didn't produce the impairment of 
several drinks, it still impacted negatively on his driving.

"I know from stoned driving experience that it affects my depth 
perceptions quite markedly," he wrote. "Like the time I was driving 
down Highway 48 and pulled to a stop at a stop sign, which was 200 
yards further down the highway."

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 

"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.

Tory said he feels many people his age have similar tales to tell.

"I characterize (the article) as honest observations of somebody 30 
years ago," Tory said.
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