N.L. MP admits using pot

Andrea Gunn
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Scott Simms favours legalization; calls for mature debate

Scott Simms.

National debate in the past few weeks has gone up in smoke as the legalization of marijuana issue has resurfaced again with a vengeance.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police issued a news release last month in favour of ticketing, rather than prosecuting, people for possessing small amounts of pot — a stance echoed by Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Robert Johnston.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau also made headlines last month when he admitted he has not only used marijuana, but has used it while he was a sitting member of Parliament. Since then, a number of other politicians have jumped into the pot de­bate.

The federal government has said it is considering the recommendation of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police while simultaneously accusing Trudeau of promoting drug use to children by admitting he has smoked the stuff.

When asked whether he’d ever smoked weed, Bonavista-Gander-Grand Falls-Windsor Liberal MP Scott Simms didn’t hesitate to reply.

“Yes, I’ve done it, and guess what? I inhaled, too,” Simms said, in a nod to former U.S. president Bill Clinton’s admission that he had smoked pot, but “never inhaled.”

When asked if he had smoked as a sitting MP, however, Simms said he had no comment.

“I’ve never performed my job high or drunk. As for outside of my job, that’s for me,” Simms said. “I didn’t get into office personally to talk about my Friday nights with friends and what exactly I do.”

This isn’t the first time Simms has been open about breaking the law. In February 2011 he was part of a protest against snowmobile laws that involved illegally riding across Terra Nova Park, a prohibited area.

Simms said he has issues with current pot laws, but he has no plans to spark up a joint on Parliament Hill in protest. He did say, however, he thinks it’s time for a mature debate about Canada’s pot laws.

Like his colleague Justin Trudeau, Simms said he’s in favour of regulation, not decriminalization, of pot.

“It’s not about putting marijuana on every street corner and that everybody can sign up to sell it —  that’s actually what’s happening right now. When it’s unregulated, people can sell it to anybody,” Simms said.

He doesn’t buy the argument that legalization will make the drug more accessible. Instead, he thinks implementing strict regulations on the sale of marijuana, much the same as for tobacco and alcohol, would be the way to go.

“The majority of Canadians want decriminalization or legalization, one or the other. Now the police are saying they want a ticketable offence. There are, I think, nine states that are formalizing the legalization of marijuana in the United States,” Simms said.

“Marijuana is everywhere, and we need to have a mature conversation about this to make sure that we keep it out of the hands of kids … and to keep it (out of the hands) of criminals.”

Simms said the Conservatives’ outraged response to Trudeau’s admission to toking detracts from the quality of the debate.

“When Stephen Harper says Justin Trudeau is promoting kids to smoke pot, it makes me very angry,” said Simms.

“Last year (Harper) had a photo-op where he was in a tavern drinking a beer, and he admitted he likes his occasional beer. Is that promoting beer to kids? I think that’s a far- fetched thing to say. Why is he saying this about marijuana? This is an example of where the Conservatives don’t want to engage in a mature conversation.”

Unlike other issues Simms’ constituents might discuss with him, he said people are more reluctant to talk about marijuana legalization.

“It’s easy for people to voice their concern against marijuana use, like the legalization or the regulation of marijuana, but it’s not so easy when you’re in favour of that because it is illegal,” he said.

“But if someone calls my office to voice their opinion, they can call me anonymously and I will never tell anyone where I got the call from. …I would love to hear people’s opinions.”

The Advertiser

Organizations: Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, Conservatives

Geographic location: United States, Terra Nova Park, Canada

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Wilma
    September 10, 2013 - 10:07

    I think it's ridiculous that public figures are jumping on the pot bandwagon. What you smoke in the privacy of your own home or wherever, is your own business and I don't think your media hogging is helping matters for those who are against decriminalization of the stuff. Grow up. And BTW, not 'everyone' has done it, or even desired to do it.

  • rob doucette
    rob doucette
    September 09, 2013 - 15:03

    I agree with most on here and the politicians who have fessed up on marijuana usage are just showing that not only do everyday successful Canadians smoke marijuana, but very successful canadians and people in the media as well. The injustice which has been carried out on law abiding citizens by way of possession charges for small amounts is ridiculous. People like harper make me very uneasy as they have never smoked it (due to asthma) and harper knows that marijuana can be consumed (without smoking), but him being prime minister, I am sure he already knows that.

  • Cashin Delaney
    September 08, 2013 - 23:20

    Again, it is smoking that the politicians are promoting. They have always needed you to smoke. They need you to be sick and poor. They all know cigatrette smoking is in decline, and youth are steering away from da baccy. Oh My God, the revenue losses! Trudeau or Simms could come out and praise the benefits of THC to the highest. It is a wonderful, natural medicine. You can eat it, make tea on it, vaporize it. Obviously smokers perfer to smoke it, but if we are going to have a conversation with youth, lets broaden it beyond only smoking. Issuing tickets is the stupidest idea ever. So, smoking a joint gets put on the same page as parking in a handicap spot. A ticket. So the wealthy can park wherever, smoke wherever, get a ticket. $$$. For our youth, I'm more concerned about weed being a gateway to tobacco, not crack, meth or smack. And our government is banking on it. What's next, lowering the age for VLTs?

  • Tim Jamison
    September 08, 2013 - 11:23

    Weed should be legal, I think this is a given. If you're flipping burgers or digging graves by hand, you should be stoned. It's more humane that way. But, there are some simple facts of life that have to be addressed here. Weed is illegal and Scott and J.T. make laws. They should not be smoking (especially as sitting members, like J.T. did). They are supposed to obey the law. Also, it's been proven time and again that weed lowers cognitive ability both acutely and chronically. Long story short, I don't want stoners making laws. We need thinkers, not smokers. The final piece is neither of these two are capable of entering America now, on trade missions to represent our interests. A confession of any illegal drug use renders you inadmissible to America and you can be sure that the CPC has sent all these quotes to Homeland Security. They'll need waivers to enter America, waivers with a six month processing time

  • Townie bayman
    September 07, 2013 - 08:11

    My good god! A politician will say anything if he thinks it will make him popular. I swear they would admit to bunching babies in the face if they thought they'd get an extra vote out of it,

  • Alex
    September 06, 2013 - 12:59

    Does someone want to explain to the author/editor what the phrase "up in smoke" means and why it makes no sense in this particular context? If you're going to use puns (and please, you don't have to) you could at least use them correctly.

  • Kris
    September 06, 2013 - 11:41

    I imagine that the discussions concerning alcohol were similar back in 1933 before prohibition was lifted. There are so many industries that PROFIT because cannabis is illegal (Pharmaceuticals, Law Enforcement, Justice, Prison Construction, Organized Crime etc.) I encourage all readers to ask their friends, children, colleagues and parents about their cannabis use. I guarantee that you will be surprised at how prevelant its use is in our society. We aren't the burnt out hippies that mass media propagates us to be. Cannabis is simply a substance that can be enjoyed responsibly by adults...not any different than a Martini, a nice glass of wine, or an espresso. The prohibition of cannabis is on its last legs, jump on the bandwagon or get out of the way.

  • hua mulan
    September 06, 2013 - 10:06

    The hot issues of the next election may well be: * the pmo's office burning everything from hardrives to sticky papers connecting harper to the senate scandal,: wait, they've already done that!.... * the libs'... well the libs should have no problem in taking up the Green party onto their platform..... ( oh, I can understand now why Scott seems to be trying not to grin).

  • Lorraine
    September 06, 2013 - 09:49

    Come on people. If you're under 60 and had an underage drink with your friends, most likely you either smoked pot or got a few good contact highs from sitting in a smokey car or shed while your buds did. I can certainly remember my teenage years, with the black light posters and Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" playing on bust. Lose the amnesia and be real. Pot is no worse than booze, and should be treated as such. Kudos to Scott for being truthful. Imagine that, an honest politician!

  • A mom
    September 06, 2013 - 09:46

    I as a mother don't think it's ok,only last I watching the news along with my 14 year old when a lawyer was on saying legalize it my kid turns around and says see mom nothing wrong with it,for him to say that to me tells me he had tried it,even though he said no he hasn't,At me too,Kurt,Jeff it's ok to say you had tried it but I don't see people like you on TV identifying yourselves,you know why you don't want people to know who you are or better yet your children or grandchildren,if our PM,s wants to use it then do it on their own time not mine.

    • Not a MOM
      September 06, 2013 - 19:15

      To A MOM: While you are clearly entitled to an opinion, being a MOM is hardly unique and using the phrase "as a mother" does not qualify you to make any informative decision on the regulation of a ubiquitous substance. "As a mother" is an irrelevant descriptor of your own biased views. You indicate concern about your kids observations in the media; do you honestly think your children have not been exposed to some form of drug culture through contacts, communities or other influence. By your own description, your young children have already learned to critically think at a level higher than your own ability. The politicians are bringing light to an issue that plagues the Canadian justice system and society and it is something that your children are going to be involved in as they become members of this society. If you don't like it, feel free to pack up and move to a non-democratic nation....lets see what you "as a mother" think of that.

    • Jeff
      September 07, 2013 - 08:11

      I am not on TV simply because I am not in a position where cameras and/or news reporters are asking me to be on camera. If anyone were to point a camera at my face and start recording, my opinions would not change one bit. My opinions on pot is not something that would ruin me. Crawl out from under your rock. You think that a lawyer's opinion was the breaking point of a possible drug addiction your child may develop?? again....... crawl out from under your rock. Keep your child away from Cheech and Chong movies then. As well as a million other movies, documentaries, etc.

    • Jeff
      September 07, 2013 - 08:13

      I am not on TV simply because I am not in a position where cameras and/or news reporters are asking me to be on camera. If anyone were to point a camera at my face and start recording, my opinions would not change one bit. My opinions on pot is not something that would ruin me. Crawl out from under your rock. You think that a lawyer's opinion was the breaking point of a possible drug addiction your child may develop?? again....... crawl out from under your rock. Keep your child away from Cheech and Chong movies then. As well as a million other movies, documentaries, etc.

    • Lynn Nugent
      September 07, 2013 - 16:28

      If marijuana were legalized and regulated the way alcohol is, chances are your son would NOT have had the chance to try it at such a young age. By keeping it illegal, we are effectively leaving marijuana in the hands of street dealers (who have no compunction about selling to minors). This means more - not less - children at risk of using at an early age.

    • Jim
      September 08, 2013 - 15:46

      So, you prefer that your son lie to you rather then engage in an honest conversation about the dos and don't of pot? BTW: According to the story that you just read, he did it on his own time - not yours, not the governments.

    • JT
      September 10, 2013 - 06:21

      You make a good point. Scott Simms, Justin trudeau and all the other high profile people in society have a responsibility that the average person does not have. When they get on the media like this, they are influencing young people and could be the cause of a kid taking a path that is best not taken.

  • Driving While High
    September 06, 2013 - 09:41

    I have a simple question that remains unanswered by Justin Trudeau, Scott Simms and the journalists of the Telegram. How does law enforcement detect people who are impaired by marijuana when driving a car. One poster to this thread says we should treat pot like beer. But a breathelyser can detect if you have had too much alcohol to drive a car. The drug tests to date for cannabis cannot be done by breathelyser, and the hair and blood tests can detect amounts of illegal drugs but not the time they were consumed. Cannot officers cannot draw blood samples. So before we decriminalize pot, shouldn't we have a way to detect and prosecute those who choose to drive while impaired by pot when they injure or kill others???

    • Jeff
      September 06, 2013 - 15:07

      Simple saliva swab test.

    • Osgoode Hall Law
      September 06, 2013 - 18:24

      The saliva swab test has not been certified for use by law enforcement for several reasons. First, to date the existing test have returned too many false positive results in trial runs. Secondly, for Cannabis, existing tests can only detect marijuana use has occurred within 12-24 but cannot produce the volume of marijuana consumed and therefore law enforcement cannot prove an individual is legally impaired at the time of the exact time of the test.

    • Someone with toxicology experience
      September 06, 2013 - 19:24

      To: Driving while high....you actually do make an interestingly point but you can be assured that the testing methodology necessary to detect impairing amounts of THC are a relatively simple process that is somewhat more sensitive than current breathalyzer methods.For example breathalyzers have a number of disadvantages to more accurate blood chemistry tests. I would expect that if a need were to develop, a pharmaceutical company would quickly develop ad point of care instrument designed to detect THC levels, and various blood tests are likely to be adopted in a similar manner as cholesterol or glucose. This is not outside the realm of possibility.

    • Red
      September 10, 2013 - 09:52

      How are they detecting it now? There are plenty of people driving while hi now and just because you legalize it doesn't mean the number of impaired drivers will increase. It will never be stopped so the government should try to benefit from it financially.

  • Dawn O
    September 06, 2013 - 09:21

    He has my vote for being honest and attempting to protect his family and private life!!!!! Good on ya!

  • Arnold
    September 06, 2013 - 09:16

    Hey guys look at me! I smoked pot too. Look! Look! Please look at me!

  • me too
    September 06, 2013 - 09:14

    if that's the worst thing that anyone have done, then let it be. It's not like they were caught diving drunk, or cause an accident while being drunk, or killed someone while driving drunk. I smoked it once, almost 40 years ago, being happy every now and then don't hurt anyone. Maybe if all the MP's and MHA's admitted to using it, it wouldn't be such a shock.

  • Kurt
    September 06, 2013 - 09:12

    For all you narrow minded ignorant people please go educate yourself!! Weed has many health benefits for many illnesses and helps my wife get through her day without experiencing so much pain. It also helps her eat when she is too nauseous. She used to be on many pills that had so many side effects she couldn't work at all or barely function. It's perfectly ok to drink and smoke everyday which has killed many people. Oh and yes please let's waste some more of the tax payers money on sending these big bad weed smokers to court. I mean its not like the cops have any other crimes here to deal with lol So before you open your mouth again on this topic maybe some of you should actually get some facts to back it up! I agree with this man its definitely time to LEGALIZE IT!!!!

  • Emily
    September 06, 2013 - 09:04

    Seriously people. Is it too much to ask for "mature" dialogue on the subject? I support Mr. Simms and Mr. Trudeau in their request to revisit Canadian law on the subject of marijuana use. They (along with many of our mature business leaders - not just politicians) are clearly NOT crack smoking potheads as Steve or Original Townie would have us believe. Grow up people and support intelligent dialogue on the subject. Times have changed and it's about time the laws changes too.

  • Pro weed
    September 06, 2013 - 08:50

    Weed should have the same rules as beer

  • Jeff
    September 06, 2013 - 08:31

    Simms smoked pot??? We must alert the church elders!!! Who cares?? The smartest, most successful people on this planet smoke pot. I don't smoke pot myself, because I don't like the feeling, but 99% of my friends do and they are all successful. In fact, the smartest guy I know, with a very prestigious job (and damn good at it), smokes a lot of pot. This is a brave move on his part as there is a lot of people out there that won't agree with his current moves and statements, but in my opinion, the fact that he is out there and truthful is reason to get my vote. That is what this country needs. A politician that is not plastic and fake. Well done Scott.

    • Bob Veats
      September 06, 2013 - 11:41

      Exactly, I don't smoke pot: but that's a choice. Legalisation or decriminalisation is not going to magically convince me to smoke pot, the same way I don't smoke cigarettes and abstain from drinking. All criminalisation does is make criminals out of average Joes and Janes, and makes loads of tax free money for drug dealers. In the end it costs us again when Joe and Jane end up in court and jail for otherwise misdemeanor crimes. Decriminalising quits punishing Joe and Jane. Legalisation takes the money out of the hands of drug dealers. THC is an important pain reliever that should be readily available option to anyone suffering from chronic pain; as well as all those 'may cause death' prescription medicines.

    • Emily
      September 07, 2013 - 15:19

      Cudos to the voices of reason here - Bob Veats and Jeff. I'd vote for Simms too if I could - too bad I don't live in his riding. By the way... I'm not a smoker - pot or otherwise - but I totally agree with making it legal and taxable.

  • John Smith
    September 06, 2013 - 08:27

    More and more Libs coming out as pot heads...they should join with the marijuana party...

    • Jim
      September 08, 2013 - 15:49

      Harper is a liberal now?

  • wicked this fellow really out there
    September 06, 2013 - 07:47

    yes by; i knew this fellow was on something......he's really out there......like really

  • Dan
    September 06, 2013 - 07:08

    Non story folks.....we've all tried pot. Biggest question is "Who hasn't"?

  • Steve
    September 06, 2013 - 06:42

    Damn lying potheads, I'm not voting for any of those drug influenced potheads and crackheads.

  • picky
    September 06, 2013 - 06:07

    So what, I bet he has a beer or two on occasion as well.

  • original townie
    September 06, 2013 - 05:52

    This guy is soooo ridiculous. If my leader smoked pot, so did I. If my leader jumps of Buffalo Jump, then dammit, so am I. Sounds as though he is coming out and relieved at doing so.The weight of the world has been lifted...hallelujah.Talk about riding on someone elses coat tails. Second time this guy breaks Canadian law and he is a member of Parliament, the very same people who make the laws. Laws are obviously for us little folk, not him. He has that smug look about it too. Pathetic :(

  • Scott
    September 06, 2013 - 05:48

    Here my opinions, You along with your fellows smoker should be in court. That would be a good example for ours young people.

    • Devil's Advocate
      September 06, 2013 - 13:40

      Proper spelling and grammar would be a better example.