John A. could have legally smoked marijuana - Macleans.ca

John A. could have legally smoked marijuana

But probably he didn’t think to

by

Over the weekend, the Prime Minister (or his speechwriters) decided to try to use John A. Macdonald to make some kind of point about marijuana.

“Sir John A. spoke to British Columbians about the things that matter, about jobs and prosperity, about a Canada united and strong, about economic growth not grow-ops, about a national dream, not a pipe dream.”

Much as Wilfrid Laurier failed to foresee Canada’s success at the Winter Olympics, it’s probably true that John A. didn’t talk much about smoking marijuana. In fairness, Macdonald died in 1891 and cannabis didn’t become illegal in Canada until 1923 and non-medicinal use of cannabis was basically unheard of in Canada before 1930. During Macdonald’s life, cannabis was used for medicinal purposes, though apparently it fell out of favour in the 1890s.