As It Happens

Proud Newfoundland dad explains what it was like to buy legal weed from his son

​At one minute past midnight Wednesday in Newfoundland, Thomas H. Clarke sold weed to his dad.

The longtime cannabis smoker spins a yarn about marijuana, Rex Murphy and Pierre Elliot Trudeau

Thomas H. Clarke, right, sells his shop's first legal marijuana to his father, Donald. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

​At one minute past midnight on Wednesday in Newfoundland, Thomas H. Clarke sold weed to his dad.

The legal transaction went down at Thomas H. Clarke's Distribution, an independent cannabis shop in Portugal Cove - St. Philip's.

And Donald Clarke could not be a prouder papa. 

He spoke to As It Happens host Carol Off about what it was like to watch his son — once an illegal drug dealer — become a legitimate small business owner. 

Here is part of their conversation. 

Are you proud to be your son's first customer?

Yes, indeed. And proud of my son.

What did you buy last night?

I bought two packages. They're both manufactured by Aurora.  ... One is called Aces THC Indica. [The other is] Aces Sativa THC.

Are you a regular user or are you just trying to support your son's business?

No, I'm a regular user and have been for 50 years. Not starting after breakfast or anything like that, but at the end of the day.

This package from Aurora contains two pre-rolled joints retails for about $13 at THC Distribution in Portugal Cove-St. Philip's. (Peter Cowan/CBC)

Does it feel good to be able to tell the world that without having to kind of hide it and sneak around?

You have no idea what it's like, I'm sure, to come out of the closet. It's just a relief to be able to talk with people that you don't know, whereas before I would be very circumspect and only talk to my friends who I knew. 

It's 2018 and this should have all been done 50 years ago.

[Former prime minister] Pierre Elliot Trudeau, you know, he should have just said, "I'm going to legalize cannabis. Watch me!"

And you actually have a story about Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the father of the man who actually now has legalized this. 

And worked for him diligently at no charge to organize the largest political cavalcade ever held in the province of Newfoundland. 

One of the key organizers was [political pundit] Rex Murphy.

I understand part of that story takes place in the woods.

They went for a stroll ... Rex and Pierre. And whether Rex will let down his guard and tell you about that, I have no idea.

I'm going to guess and I'll judge by your silence if this is true — so Rex Murphy and Pierre Elliot Trudeau went into the woods and shared some marijuana together?

They went into the woods and they had a long discussion [chuckles]. How about that?

And during that discussion, was there smoking involved?

I think there were some clouds seen. 

[Editor's Note: As It Happens has reached out to Murphy for comment.]

Pierre Trudeau slides down a banister at the 1968 Liberal convention in Ottawa. (Ted Grant)

I think people understand what you're saying. ... So now, the scene last night when you were at your son's store, what was that like?

There were a number of things that struck me besides the emotion of being so proud of seeing him articulate on television things that I think I may have had a degree in sowing the seed, if you want — you'll pardon the pun there.

Was it a good night?

Oh it was awesome. It was awesome. A very emotional night for me.

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Produced by Ashley Mak. Q&A edited for length and clarity. 


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