It shouldn’t really matter much nowadays whether or not Toronto councillor Doug Ford dealt hashish when he was young, says criminologist Neil Boyd.
According to the SFU academic, someone who sells tobacco or alcohol is likely doing more harm to the public than someone who peddles hashish, a derivative product of marijuana.
The only problem for Ford is that he’s a politician. Moreover, he’s the elder brother to the more controversial Toronto mayor, Rob Ford.
“If they weren’t involved in politics and there wasn’t a question around whether it’s truthful or not...in terms of harms to society, somebody who sells hashish is probably doing, generally speaking, much less harm than somebody who sells tobacco,” Boyd told the Georgia Straight.
He made the remark in the wake of a Globe and Mail article, citing unnamed sources, alleging that Doug Ford sold hashish as a teen and young adult. Doug Ford has vehemently denied that he was a dealer.
Boyd, a critic of cannabis prohibition, is a member of Stop the Violence B.C., a coalition of experts from various fields that advocates regulation and taxation of marijuana.
“We are now in a debate in our society about whether these are drugs that should be taxed and regulated alongside alcohol and tobacco,” Boyd said when asked if Ford’s alleged hashish dealing is relatively minor compared to other criminal offences. “And it’s pretty clear from the perspective of public health that alcohol and tobacco are, for most people and in most circumstances, more dangerous drugs from a public health perspective than hashish or cannabis. So on that level, yes. That perhaps should not be an issue.”
Boyd added that many people sold marijuana or hashish when they were young.
“But I think the issue that swirls around the Fords is one of honesty—the extent to which they’re telling the truth about their connection to their drug trade,” he said.