MP John Rafferty (NDP, Thunder Bay - Rainy River).
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John Rafferty thinks it’s time the marijuana question hit the national headlines.
The Thunder Bay-Rainy River NDP MP on Monday said Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s revelation that he’d used pot five or six times – most recently three years ago while a member of the House of Commons – was a good excuse to spark the debate about the country’s marijuana laws.
In his opinion, Canada has three options.
“One is the laws remain the same. There is a middle ground, decriminalization; and then going all the way to legalize it,” Rafferty said.
“The Liberal point of view is they can tax it and control it if they legalize it. My own opinion has always been that it should be decriminalized. I don’t really think people should be in jail. I think there are alternatives and we continue to look at that in the NDP.”
Rafferty said essentially the decision comes down to economics.
“Is there a cost-benefit to doing that? That’s one thing to look at, aside from the fact that people are going to jail that maybe shouldn’t be in jail.”
Asked if he used the drug, the 60-year-old Rafferty said he does not, but made it clear he might have had past encounters with pot.
“I don’t smoke marijuana, but I did grow up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, so maybe that’s a good enough answer for you,” he said.
“I do drink coffee though. I did have a cup this morning and I’ll probably have another cup tomorrow morning.”
Trudeau is a notorious non-coffee drinker.
Rafferty did question the timing of the announcement, in the dead of summer, suggesting the Liberals timed it to steal the headlines away from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Arctic tour.
Asked if Trudeau was wrong to inhale while a sitting MP, Rafferty said he’s not sure politicians should be held to a higher standard.
Independent MP Bruce Hyer was contacted via email for comment on this story, but was not immediately available.
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