While responding to a question about giving people a ticket for drinking beer in a park, Doug Ford said he thinks if people are allowed to smoke weed in public, they should be allowed to drink in public, too.
During the comments, made during a COVID-19 update on Friday, August 14, the Ontario Premier says he doesn’t understand the difference between smoking some pot in public and having a beer with some friends on a park bench.
“They’re making it legal to go out and smoke a joint, a doobie, a reefer, whatever the heck they call it nowadays,” said Ford, while those in the background chuckled. “I wouldn’t want my kids walkin’ by with a bunch of guys smoking cannabis or marijuana, but if a couple of guys are sitting there quietly on a picnic bench, having a cold little beer, who cares?”
The Premier’s comments were meant to address concerns about people drinking in a park during the pandemic when they perhaps have nowhere else to go. However, Ford seems to have forgotten he was the one who made smoking cannabis in public legal in Ontario.
When Ford became Premier, in addition to getting rid of several public cannabis stores already built or under construction and leaving Ontario with zero legal cannabis stores for the first six months of legalization—giving another enormous advantage to the black market—Ford also changed the previous government’s rule that banned smoking cannabis in public.
Ontario’s own cannabis regulations were passed on October 17, 2018, changing the rule that banned public cannabis smoking put in place by the previous Ontario Liberal government.
Memory loss is sometimes considered to be a side effect of cannabis use. Although it has been rumoured Ford used to sell hash, it’s unknown if he was or is a regular user of cannabis products. He is, however, known to be a big supporter of a cold beer with his folks.
While there are still limitations on where one can smoke weed in public in Ontario, they are similar to those rules for smoking tobacco, such as schools, playgrounds, near hospitals or businesses, sports fields, bus stops, etc.