World Wonders If He's Gone To Pot

World Wonders If He's Gone To Pot
Posted by CN Staff on October 04, 2003 at 09:56:20 PT
By Paul Samyn   
Source: Winnipeg Free Press 
Ottawa -- It was meant as a joke, but that didn't stop Prime Minister Jean Chretien's quip about possibly smoking pot in retirement from making headlines around the world yesterday.Reuters put Chretien's crack on cannabis -- made in an interview with the Free Press -- on its global wire service. The story was picked up by the U.S. Internet Web site, the Drudge Report, which rose to fame with its scoops on the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal.
"Now Canada can understand why Prime Minister Jean Chretien seems to be in such a hurry to push through a law decriminalizing marijuana," the Reuters story said.Chretien's comments prompted an RCMP public affairs official to phone the Free Press to verify their accuracy. The official asked a Free Press reporter whether the comments had been taped, which they had been.The prime minister's remarks also prompted a Canadian television network news program to call the Free Press, asking for information about the interview.The controversy over Chretien's marijuana comments even made it last night onto CBC's flagship news program, The National. Chretien was on the defensive yesterday when asked about the comments as he arrived at a downtown Winnipeg hotel before speaking at a Liberal party fund-raiser."I never said I tried it -- I said someday I might be able to do it," Chretien told reporters.Chretien repeated several times that he had never tried smoking pot.During a wide-ranging interview with the Free Press, which was published yesterday, Chretien outlined the rationale for a bill to decriminalize marijuana and ended his explanation with the following comments made in a joking fashion:"I don't know what is marijuana," he said. "Perhaps I will try it when it wi ll no longer be criminal. I will have my money for my fine and a joint in the other hand."Opposition Leader Stephen Harper has been a harsh critic of the Liberal government's pot decriminalization bill. Harper said it's hard to tell if Chretien is kidding with his remark about marijuana.And he said the person who really should be asked for his opinion on pot is Paul Martin, who will be the next prime minister.Winnipeg Liberal MP Reg Alcock wondered if the fuss over Chretien's comments means people have lost their sense of humour."Everybody should take a breath," Alcock said."The prime minister is clearly joking. He has that sort of sardonic sense of humour. I see it as nothing more than a joke and it is too bad it is being misinterpreted."Earlier this year, Chretien's government ignored the protests of the U.S. government to introduce a bill that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Smoking pot would remain illegal but offenders would face fines instead of jail time.Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)Author: Paul SamynPublished: Saturday, October 4, 2003Copyright: 2003 Winnipeg Free PressContact: letters freepress.mb.caWebsite: Related Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Inflames Marijuana Opponentsétien Jokes About Trying Pot Jokes He'll Try Pot Once It's Decriminalized
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on October 04, 2003 at 09:58:33 PT
I Made a Mistake
I archived this article and I meant to post it on the front page. Sorry about that but here it is.
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