Refresh Checked Unchecked Menu Search Shopping bag Geolocation Person Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube Info Icon CBC Icon CBC Shape CBD Icon CBD Shape CBG Icon CBG Shape THC Icon THC Shape THCV Icon THCV Shape
Advertise on Leafly

An Overview of Cannabis Legalization Driving Politicians Insane

December 6, 2017
According to one Canadian politician, this is basically a bong. (Photo by gilas/iStock)
We always knew Canada’s plan to legalize adult-use recreational cannabis would come with some challenges, from police forces decrying their impending under-preparedness to government ad campaigns warning about the dangers of driving high. But thus far, the primary fallout of the push for legalization has been the strange, situational delusion that’s gripped a number of Canadian politicians, who’ve been driven to argue against legalization via the most astounding pronouncements. Call it Reefer Madness 2.0.

Ron Orr, a provincial politician for Alberta, claimed that cannabis legalization could lead to a communist revolution. Seriously.

It all started in July 2017, when Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu rose in the House of Commons. “We have already established that this legislation would put marijuana in the hands of children,” said Gladu. “Not just with the 15 joints that 12-year-olds can have, but with the four plants per household.”

Gladu was likely referring to the fact that the new bill does not criminalize youth for possessing up to 5 grams of marijuana—though the assumption that a mere five grams equals 15 joints is a fantasia in its own right. More importantly, what’s the alternative? Does Ms. Gladu actually believe that 12-year-olds should be arrested and treated to the criminal justice system for being caught with a joint?

Gladu followed up with a widely mocked remark about the accessibility dangers of homegrown cannabis: “So Little Johnny can put some in the toaster oven and smoke it up.” The remark took the Canadian cannabis Twitterverse by storm, inspiring the hashtag #Toasterbud and widespread mockery.


The Leafly 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Last month, the anti-cannabis rhetoric really heated up. Ron Orr, a provincial politician for Alberta under the United Conservative Party banner, claimed that marijuana legalization could lead to a communist revolution. Seriously.

Orr said that there were “historical parallels” between cannabis legalization and the Communist Cultural Revolution.“Yes, opium smoking, like marijuana, was a fashionable refined pastime especially among the young – but I’ll tell you something, it doesn’t lead to the good life.”

Conservative MP Peter Kent stood up in the House to compare home-grown cannabis with the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Usually the “gateway theory” implicates cannabis for leading consumers to harder drugs, but to communism? That’s a new one.

The lunacy didn’t stop there. Later in November, Conservative MP Peter Kent stood up in the House to compare home-grown cannabis with the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl.

“When it’s legal, despite the allowable age to consume, kids are going to harvest leaves, kids are going to experiment,” said Kent. “I think what we’re doing is virtually the same as putting fentanyl on a shelf within reach of kids. Having plants in the homes is just as wacky, it’s just as unacceptable, and just as dangerous.”

Never mind that fentanyl overdoses kill hundreds of Canadians a year while no one in the history of the world has ever died from a cannabis overdose—Kent’s apparently uninterested in facts. After Vice released its story “This Conservative Politician Said Weed is Just as Deadly as Fentanyl,” Kent labelled the article “yellow journalism” and tweeted that he was not making a “chemical comparison…it’s about potentially fatal risk to kids.” (Again, fentanyl kills hundreds annually and cannabis has killed no one ever, so keep digging, Mr. Kent.)


The Best Cannabis Strains and Products for Every Situation

The day after Kent’s fentanyl comparisons, the Conservative Member of Parliament Dave Vankesteren stood up in the House to claim cannabis would “enslave our youth” and turn the government into “the new pusher on the block.” Vankersteren’s claims were soon after challenged in the MP’s local newspaper, the Chatham Daily News, in which the municipality’s medical officer of health sanely noted that cannabis was already widely available to youth, and that the new law wouldn’t be as detrimental as Vankesteren claimed.

Perhaps the pinnacle of Reefer Madness 2.0 came on December 1, when the aforementioned MP Marilyn “Toaster Oven” Gladu recited an original anti-cannabis poem for her colleagues in the House.

I want to protest an ill-thought-out bill

that is passing through Parliament here on the Hill.

The bill that is bad is called C-45.

It has so many flaws it just should not survive.

The Grits will allow four pot plants in each dwelling,

regardless of how bad each place will be smelling.

I’ll save you from the rest of the rhymes (which can be experienced in full, straight from the Gladu’s mouth, here).

Unsure of what to make of all these boisterous cannabis claims, I reached out to Craig Jones, the Executive Director of NORML Canada, who provided a quick comment.

“Unfortunately, we will always have fearmongers to contend with,” Jones tells me. “Fortunately, they will always be wrong.”

Harrison Jordan's Bio Image

Harrison Jordan

Harrison Jordan is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and enjoys reading and writing about the regulatory affairs of cannabis in Canada and around the world.

View Harrison Jordan's articles

  • I believe our Canadian neighbors to the North will do just fine with legalized cannabis. No major harms seem to have befallen Washington State or Colorado State who were first to legalize.

  • MrMuon

    The conspirators against legalization are getting really nervous now.
    Once a major western country like Canada shows what will happen, all their lies will break down.

  • Réal Guy


    It’s funny how bigot anti-cannabic prohibitionists manage to divert attention in ways to serve their own twisted ideology. In addition it complicates the matter further if considering that Trudeau’s “légaleezation” never really implied what it sounds like. After all he said it himself in Toronto a year ago: NOT to “please” recreational users.

    Too bad, more Prohibitionism v2.0 just ain’t equivalent to making cannabis legal anyway! Never forget canadian politicians are still aligned with the UNGASS 2016 statement about which high-profile UN insider Louise Arbour warned that the system should avoid “punishing” itself… Which it does by undermining Canuck citizen’s trust in its public institutions as it does now.

    In other words it was a slap in the face of cannabis consumers to put Hilary Geller in charge of organizing Canada’s contribution to this “4-20” event despite the fact that she used to work for Harper before!!

    Also, i recall that previously to UNGASS 2016 there was yet another political “message” sent, via the nomination of Bill G20 Blair, which somehow conveniently seemed to coïncide with the EXTRADITION of Michael Woods and Gaëtan Dinelle, to serve LIFE SENTENCES for a non-violent “crime” of which Canada Post should plead guilty every day…

    Then lets not forget to mention the HOMICIDE of Bony Jean-Pierre by SPVM-GTi POLICE agent Christian Gilbert in Montréal “Noir”, Québec. Over 8 oz collected from pockets not even belonging to the dead – and he was unarmed!

    Prohibition, reefer madness, that’s all fitting a single socio-toxic category as far as i’m concerned: VILIFICATION, or « Breaking the Toy of Others » (and +)…

    For example re-focussing on the fear of communism in a discussion makes it easy to forget it’s actually capitalism which is a key aspect of
    North-American life today, and yet such diversion pushes it beyond our radar. It’s like failing to see a whole forest behind the tree.

    « …the assumption that a mere five grams equals 15 joints is a fantasia in its own right… »

    Is it, really? What’s the point anyway once one has realized that’s only perpetuating a systematic socio-toxic association of SMOKING and cannabis, which is compatible with SELF-VILIFICATION passively promoted by hate-speech proponents: all they need to do is watch us harming ourselves in a era when there are health-wise alternatives. Too bad e-Cigs and Vaporizers have been made equivalent to toxic poisonous SMOKING, and i’ll bet none of the *10* (ten) CDSA modifications under Trudeau was trying to fix that, on the contrary.

    As a matter of fact i’m not even confident the “Cannabis Act” is required at all for this government to do what it intended to do since the convenient instrumentalization of Joy Davies, just in good time for elections day…

    Good day, have fun!!

  • Lucy Blaine

    I can’t wait for prohibition to end in Canada. After a year these fearmongers will wonder what the hell they were so upset about, just as they have in our rec-legal states.

    Much love from Washington state.

  • Brent Morrow

    See you all at 420 ! Perhaps we will figure out by then if Mr. Potatohead is really going to legalize pot like he promised. Unfortunately we’ll have to put up with a lot of hand wringing and downright silliness in the meantime.

  • lovingc

    The problem is all of these fools know nothing about what they were spreading their own insanity over. Be fore you say anything about a subject you should know at least the basics about the subject. Otherwise just like these fools have you will embarrass yourself and have every thing you say ignored.

  • FlunkedAgain

    Turn a Toaster Oven into a pipe? No problem. All you need is a sealed chamber with air input & output holes.

    I’ve used a 6 quart saucepan with a glass lid to make a vaporizer. You also need a hot plate.