Pubdate: Wed, 15 Nov 2017
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Toronto Star
Author: Royson James
Page: A3


If St. Paul, one of the most virulent and effective enemies of early
Christians could pull off the greatest about face in history and
become the religion's most prolific proponent, then who am I to argue
with former Toronto police chief Julian Fantino as a shill for the
marijuana industry.

Fantino, the macho, no-nonsense, law-and-order tough guy from Vaughan
stood at a podium in his city Tuesday singing the virtues of - pot.

Yes, he used to bust men and women, boys and girls - locked them up
for smoking a joint or a spliff - ignoring the haze of vibe-inducing
smoke and the good vibes of the "natural mystic flowing in the air,"
riding the Rasta rhythms of Bob Marley or the raw rhetoric of Peter
Tosh's Legalize it. That was then.

But Fantino did not mutate by himself; he has disciples.

Beside him was the former second in command of the Royal Canadian
Mounted Police, Raf Souccar, who admitted busting "numerous . . .
dozens" of people for marijuana over his 34 years with the Mounties.

And in case you didn't get the odd, mind-bending irony of these former
cops turned drug promoters, Fantino spelled it out as he fronted for
Aleafia, a self-styled "Canada's first 'patient-centric'
cannabis-based health network" that launched its flagship clinic in
Vaughan Tuesday.

"Our leadership team is comprised of Canada's best thought leaders in
law enforcement, government, research and innovation, which singularly
positions Aleafia for longterm growth," Fantino told reporters.

In other words, we are the new, respectable mob. We are going to kick
butt and rake in the profits in this new, legal enterprise that has
been scrubbed clean and made respectable. Yeah, yeah, we were wrong
about this. Dope is actually a good alternative to opioids, which are
killing our young people by the thousands across the land. We've seen
the light - not to mention the cash.

Fantio is Aleafia's executive chairman. Souccar is president and CEO.
Toronto's former fire chief William Stewart is a director. Former MP
and minister of state Dr. Gary Goodyear is COO and vice-president of
research. Missing was ex-Toronto police chief Bill Blair - but he is
busy working this from the inside as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's
chief lieutenant, directed to deliver the legislation that will
de-criminalize marijuana in Canada. One wonders how many young men are
in prison - introduced to the penal system as youths and never got out
of that rut because they were busted for the horrible weed now turned
wonder drug.

"I was too busy enforcing the law, I never had the opportunity to
interact with the users," Souccar offered, in comparison to his
education as a member of Trudeau's MarijuanaLegalization Task Force.

No apologies, Fantino said Tuesday. He was upholding the law. His
"come to Jesus moment" - though the Jesus crowd would consider it a
"come to Satan moment" - was when he was veteran affairs minister,
Fantino said. He met too many veterans suffering from post traumatic
sleep deprivation and chronic ailments who found relief from cannabis
(they rarely say marijuana, or ganja; cannabis is more

"We are not in the marijuana business; we are in the health delivery
system," Fantino said, and, of course, medical marijuana has been
legal for 20 years (though greatly restricted). I have no beef with
former cops and arbiters of our morality and lawmakers showing up
years later promoting what was once considered forbidden. Happens all
the time. I don't drink or smoke or do a whole bunch of illicit stuff
that are among the menu of fun times for mayors and MPs and, of
course, cops and city councillors. But it does get astonishing at
times. The war on drugs has done so much damage to the people and
communities on the street level of the trade that it galls to see the
facilitators of this fake war now saying, "Oops, we were wrong. No
harm, no foul. Dope is actually a good alternative" to other drugs
society allows.

Or, as Fantino said Tuesday, "In days gone by we had a certain
attitude and perception of things."

But you campaigned against legalization of marijuana when you ran for
parliament? He was asked.

"I support the legalization, with conditions. We hope and trust the
concerns will be addressed, and away we go." Away we go? It's never
about the drug, or the banned substance, is it? Cause once we can
sanitize it, legislate it, tax it, package it, and deal it then we
suddenly gloss over the impacts.

Alcohol ruins families. So much so we have a liquor control board.
Casinos are a curse and a blight. Tobacco? Don't start. Opioids are
legal, though more controlled than dope, and dope more controlled than
alcohol and alcohol . . . till we find a way to cut out the
bootlegger, the gang, organized crime . . . by becoming the organized
government cartel.

It's not about the effect and impact on kids, youth, families,
society. It's about the money. Always.

And every time the government gets involved, backed by the business
cartel, product use and exposure and abuse does not diminish. It
increases. Your daughter or son no longer has to have a second thought
about the legality and advisability of dope. And we'll spend millions
warning about safe and responsible use and deliver the education in 3D
- -"Don't dope and drive."

But anytime we see our top cops at the front of the line promoting
what they once arrested for, the hypocrisy stinks to high heaven.

- -----------------------------------------------------------



Julian Fantino, executive chairman Police chief in Toronto
(2000-2005), York (1998-2000) and London (19911998), commissioner of
the Ontario Provincial Police (2006-2010) and MP for Vaughan
(2010-2015). Minister of Veterans Affairs (2013-2015) as well as of
International Cooperation and State for Seniors.

Raf Souccar, president and CEO Member of the RCMP for 34 years and
retired as Deputy Commissioner of Federal and International Policing
in 2011. Throughout his career, he was responsible for drugs and
organized crime enforcement, national security, counter-terrorism and
the prime minister's security. In 2016, he was appointed to the
federal government's Marijuana Legalization Task Force.

Dr. Gary Goodyear, COO and vice-president of research A chiropractor
for 20 years, Goodyear was MP for Cambridge from 2004 to 2015, and
served as Minister of State, Science and Technology and for the
Federal Economic Development Agency, Southern Ontario.

William Stewart, director Toronto's former fire chief (20032012), he
was on active duty for 40 years and was an officer in the Canadian
Armed Forces. He has served on the boards of the National Fire
Protection Association and Canadian Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation.
He was named fire chief of the year in 2008 and 2010.


"My issue is not a morality issue. . . . To be frank about it, by
making it easier to smoke pot we're also increasing the profits and
the activities of organized crime who are very much involved in the
grow operations." - Fantino to the Toronto Star, Dec. 24, 2003

"This is not like smoking cigarettes. This is also the type of drug
that is mind-altering and does have an impact on cognitive ability." -
Julian Fantino to Global News, Oct. 15, 2015

"I am completely opposed to the legalization of marijuana." - Julian
Fantino's Twitter account, Oct. 16, 2015
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