Rob Ford flip-flop: Toronto mayor says he now favours decriminalizing pot

Steve Mertl
National Affairs Contributor
Daily Brew
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford adjusts his tie during a special council meeting at City Hall in Toronto November 18, 2013. Toronto's City Council voted overwhelmingly on Monday to limit further the powers of embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who denounced the move as a coup d'etat and warned political foes of an election battle next year to rival the Gulf War. Ford has been under fire after admitting to smoking crack cocaine, buying illegal drugs and driving after drinking alcohol. REUTERS/Aaron Harris (CANADA - Tags: POLITICS DRUGS SOCIETY)

Politics really does make strange bedfellows, and you'd need a king size bed to accommodate these two guys.

Toronto's controversial Mayor Rob Ford has joined federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in calling on Ottawa to consider decriminalizing marijuana.

Ford made the comment on the Sports Junkies, a Washington, D.C., radio show where he appears every Thursday to talk about football and, well, other things.

His worship made headlines last month when, in answer to a question from the hosts about what he was getting his wife for Christmas, Ford responded "Just money. Women love money."

This time, according to the Toronto Sun, Ford voiced his opinion in a discussion about a planned referendum in the U.S. capital on legalizing pot.

“That probably won’t happen up here [in Canada] because we have a Conservative government,” Ford told the show. “They’re very strict when it comes to marijuana and any other drugs — so it is not going to happen here. Maybe down in the States but not up here.”

Ford became a Canadian embarrassment and international laughingstock after admitting  he smoked crack cocaine "probably in one of my drunken stupors" after police confirmed they possessed a video of him on the pipe that he'd claimed for months didn't exist.

[ Related: Justin Trudeau admits to smoking pot after becoming a MP ]

Trudeau, who favours legalizing marijuana, admitted last summer he'd smoked pot since being elected to Parliament in 2008. He said he had tried it a few times in the past but "I am not a consumer of marijuana."

The admission played into the Conservative government's staunch anti-legalization position, buttressed by tough new laws covering possession and sales.

The Sun noted Ford, during his 2010 mayoral campaign, backed the Conservatives decision not to loosen Canadian drug laws.

“I think the laws are appropriate and I’m not one to say we should legalize marijuana," he said at the time. "I’ve never said that and I wouldn’t want to see that happen."

But after Trudeau's admission, Ford said he's smoked pot too.

“I won’t deny that," he told reporters, smiling. "I’ve smoked a lot of it.”

Ford was arrested in Florida in 1999 on possession of marijuana, a joint found in his pocket after he was pulled over for driving at night without headlights. He pleaded no contest to driving under the influence and received a fine, the Sun reported.

Since then, evidence from a police drug investigation of his friend and sometime driver Alexander Lisi has suggested Ford still indulges in pot, though the mayor's denied it.

Ford said on Sports Junkies he questions the Conservatives' policy regarding marijuana, seeilegalization as a potential tax generator.

[ Related: Ford, Wynne join Trudeau's marijuana-confession bandwagon ]

“The Conservative government up here is very, you know, it’s job creation, it is stimulating the economy but I’ve questioned that too sometimes why wouldn’t they at least decriminalize it and try to get revenue from it,” Ford said, according to the Sun.

“That’s a debate that has been going on for years up in Canada. We have medicinal marijuana so a lot of people that are sick use it but they won’t legalize it or decriminalize it so I don’t think they are going to ever do it unless the government changes. I don’t see the Conservative government ever letting that happen.”

Perhaps not, but the Toronto Star notes the government is thinking about a proposal made last summer by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police to give officers the option of ticketing people for possession of small amounts of pot, which would not result in a criminal record.

“These are things that we are willing to look at in the New Year, but there’s been no decision taken," Justice Minister Peter MacKay said.