After a long career of supporting anti-marijuana policies, many of which resulted in the imprisonment of young Canadians, former Toronto police chief and Conservative party politician Julian Fantino is looking to cash in on the legal weed market.
Fantino was recently named executive chair of the medical marijuana company, Aleafia, based out of Vaughan, Ontario. Fantino claims his mind was changed after seeing how helpful medical marijuana has been for veterans. But his change of heart was surprisingly quick, particularly considering his hard-line stance against marijuana as recently as two years ago.
“I am completely opposed to [the] legalization of marijuana,” Fantino wrote on his Twitter account in 2015. He also wrote on his Facebook that year that he was opposed to making legal marijuana available in storefront dispensaries, saying “This is simply wrong, and puts the health and safety of our children and communities at risk.”
Before cashing in on the marijuana industry, Fantino compared marijuana to murder.
Back in 2004, Fantino went so far as to say, “I guess we can legalize murder too and then we won’t have a murder case.” This statement was meant as a rebuttal to the fact that legalizing marijuana tends to reduce crime rates.
In a recent interview, CBC radio host, Carol Off, tore into Fantino’s hypocrisy. “People went to jail, went to prison with six-month sentences the courts had to give them, because of a law you passed even as you knew, according to what you’ve told us, that this was something of benefit to vets,” says Off to Fantino. Under the bill, Bill C-10, the mandatory six-month sentence applied to anyone growing as few as six cannabis plants.
Fantino claims that he’s never tried marijuana. But he says he would, if prescribed by a doctor. He has yet to support recreational marijuana, only medical marijuana prescribed by a doctor. It’s an ironic position to take considering that Fantino has said his company aims to be “part of the solution” in addressing the national opioid crisis. If Fantino has even limited knowledge on the origins of the opioid crisis—presumably he does, considering he hopes his company will be “part of the solution”—he should know that a doctor’s prescription isn’t proof that a drug is safe to use. This isn’t to say that marijuana is dangerous, but just that the story Fantino’s selling about his change of heart doesn’t seem to add up.