- A second Hamilton councillor, Ward 1's Brian McHattie, has admitted he's tried marijuana.
Justin Trudeau's toke took place at a dinner party with friends. Premier Kathleen Wynne says she smoked 35 years ago, just a little, while His Excellency the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, says he smoked "a lot."
But what about your local public representatives?
Mayor Bob Bratina and nine of 15 councillors responded. Two admitted to having at one tried marijuana, seven said they'd never touched the stuff and one declined to say whether he'd smoked pot.
Councillors Brad Clark, Lloyd Ferguson, Russ Powers, Chad Collins, Bernie Morelli, Maria Pearson and Robert Pasuta all denied having used the drug. Same for Mayor Bob Bratina.
Ward 4's Sam Merulla, a former addictions counselor, wouldn't confirm or deny whether he had smoked weed.
"As a former addictions counselor, I've been advocating for the decriminalization of cannabis since 1989," he told CBC Hamilton. "As a parent, I've been preaching abstinence."
So who were the only two seats on Hamilton council to admit prior pot smoking?
"Tried marijuana when I was a teenager," wrote Ward 7 councillor Scott Duvall in an email on Thursday. "Did nothing for me and have not tried it since. Don't smoke pot and don't do drugs."
On Friday, Ward 1 councillor Brian McHattie told CBC Hamilton he'd tried marijuana "probably twice in my life."
He said he'd indulged "probably once back in my teens," and once when he was "about 40" and a graduate student at the University of Guelph.
"They were both social occasions and I've never used it since that time."
A supporter of the decriminalization of marijuana, McHattie added he thinks politicians should come clean on whether or not they've used drugs.
"I think it's important to say you did or that you didn't. I think it's important to be honest about those things."
Does it matter?
Given changing attitudes towards the drug since the 1960s marijuana use may not spell the end of political aspirations.
"I think over that span or period of time, it's become almost a societal norm that a certain percentage of the population smokes it," said Ward 5 councillor Chad Collins, who said he'd taken puffs on a cigar when one of his children was born, but added he's never touched marijuana or cigarettes.
Henry Jacek, a McMaster University professor who specializes in Canadian politics, says he "[doesn't] think there's much of a consequence" for public figures who own up to past pot use.
"I don't think the public would think it is a major factor one way or another," he told CBC Hamilton.
However, Jacek said Justin Trudeau's casual admission that he'd smoked marijuana as an MP may backfire. The Liberal leader, he said, likely made the comment to endear himself with younger Canadians and those who have a more lax view on marijuana. But he risks turning himself into a sort of "entertainment celebrity" in the public's eye.
"He may give an image that he isn't so much of a serious politician and is paying attention to things that are relatively minor."
Jacek said Canadians "aren't really talking" about politicians' marijuana use and attributed the news media's interest in the topic on the time of year.
"It's August and it's a slow news month."
Bratina: 'We were sneaking mickeys into school dances'
"I was already out of high school by the time marijuana became popular. When I was in high school, we were sneaking mickeys into school dances. That was our bad thing back then." — Mayor Bob Bratina
"I have never done it. I've never smoked anything. It's never been available to me and I've never had a desire to do it." — Ward 12 councillor Lloyd Ferguson
"I have never smoked marijuana. I have never smoked cigarettes. I did smoke a cigar once when I was 13 and I got sick to my stomach." — Ward 9 councillor Brad Clark
"I've never touched the stuff. I didn't even know what it looked like until I saw it growing in my fields…Life is too much fun without that stuff." — Ward 14 councillor Robert Pasuta
"I have never tried it." — Ward 10 councillor Maria Pearson
On Justin Trudeau's confession
"I don't think it's something the public needs to hear particularly. I don't think you need to bring something like that from your personal life into the political arena." — Pasuta
"I think it's just honest. Society can make up its own mind and I think society has made its mind up on this issue. I don't think that the average Canadian is terribly upset." — Bratina
"I think it's really quite inappropriate for any elected official, whether it's federal or provincial, to openly state that they have proudly broken the law." — Clark
"I think politically, his intent is to separate himself from how Stephen Harper is perceived — as a right-wing, out-of-touch member of the old guard." — Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla
"It's good that he's telling the truth. The bad part is I don't think it's good that leaders are engaging in something that is illegal." — Ferguson
"I think over that span or period of time, it's become almost a societal norm that a certain percentage of the population smokes it. It shows that politicians are part of the general population." — Ward 5 councillor Chad Collins
On the legal status of marijuana
"As a New Democrat, we've been talking about the decriminalization of cannabis for years." — Merulla
"I am not sure where I stand on my views on decriminalization." — Pearson
"I have no opinion. I'm not knowledgeable on it and I need to be better informed on the health effects." — Ferguson
"At this point in time, I think the law should remain how it is." — Pasuta