John Tory admits writing about his pot use in years past

He used pot. And he did inhale.

Articles John Tory wrote in his law school days have come back to haunt him.

But the man who is now Ontario’s Conservative leader isn’t hiding anything in his past. Instead, he’s using it to prove to future voters how open he is.

It’s a defensive tactic that may pay off for the neophyte political leader.

It stems from a column the former student wrote for the Osgoode Hall Law School newspaper three decades ago.

In the stories, Tory talks about his marijuana use and how during a one-time lapse of judgement he even got behind the wheel of a car while he was ‘stoned’ — something he terribly regrets as an act of youthful naivety.

The articles also argued for lesser sentences for dealers, and called the idea of putting them in jail for violating the law “absurd.”

He takes an overall liberal stance on the issue of so-called soft drugs.

But Tory argues that was in the 70s, and he was a different person then. He maintains he’s changed his mind on a number of issues, as people tend to do when they get older.

“I used to listen to Jimi Hendrix music and I used to have very long hair, and I used marijuana as many other people of that age did,” he unabashedly admits.

Tory claims he was writing about his experiences honestly and he believes it’s that trait that most voters identify with.

“What people are looking for more so than not is people who are honest,” he contends.  “I can still hold myself out as a good role model.”

He also believes those experiences have shaped who he is now – a man with a decidedly different take on illegal drug use.

He’s still in favour of keeping those found guilty of simple possession from being tagged with a criminal record, but he would like to lower the boom on traffickers.

Tory’s not alone at Queen’s Park in admitting his past experimentation with weed. Premier Dalton McGuinty and NDP leader Howard Hampton have both confessed they tried out the drug in their youths, as well.

“What some guy has done some 30 years ago, I think we should cut him some slack,” McGuinty adds.

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