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Q&A: George Smitherman on medical marijuana, becoming a single dad and that Rob Ford “shit”

Q&A: George Smitherman on medical marijuana, becoming a single dad and that Rob Ford "shit"
Q&A: George Smitherman on medical marijuana, becoming a single dad and that Rob Ford "shit"

You recently announced that you’re ­getting into the weed business, which seems like an odd career choice: former health minister turns pot farmer. Why medical marijuana, and why now?
I’m not sure I agree with your premise. Medical marijuana is a legitimate industry that presents tremendous opportunities to help people, and it’s projected for extraordinary growth.

There are 450 applicants hoping to cash in on the new, loosened pot laws. What makes your product better than theirs?
Reputability. Our head of security, Kim Derry, is the former deputy chief of the Toronto police. Kandavel Palanivel, a pharmacist and a farmer, is in charge of the product itself. And I’m in charge of the application and doctor outreach.

How much will you charge for a gram?
Health Canada recommends $7.50. We’ll aim to beat that, but it’s too early to declare a specific price point.

Has medical marijuana helped people you know?
Yes. Friends in the gay community who say it restores appetite and combats the nausea caused by HIV drug cocktails.

Do you smoke weed?
I have, although rye was the substance of choice in my youth. Those wild days are over. The parties I’m planning now are princess-themed ones for my four-year-old daughter, Kayla.

How are you and the kids coping since losing Christopher, your husband, to suicide in December?
We’re doing well in our circumstances, but our circumstances are shit. My kids are my barometer, and they are happy, loved and busy: Kayla does ­ballet, and Michael, who’s five, plays tennis. The pitter-patter of their feet in the morning is the best medicine.

Are they old enough to process what happened?
They know that their Dada is gone and not coming back. We lost three cats in the years before Christopher died, which introduced them to the pain of death, but there’s a big void in our lives. We talk about him often.

What’s your daily routine?
We’re up at 7 a.m., and into the SUV by 8 a.m. I drop Michael off at breakfast club and gymnasium play, then Kayla at daycare. I’m at my office until about 4:30 p.m., and then I reverse the routine—kids, home, dinner. They’re becoming adventurous eaters. I’m getting better at stir-fries, pasta and salads. Then it’s bath and bed time.

Your consulting firm, G and G Global Solutions, is relatively low profile. How much do you miss lobbing F-bombs and felling adversaries at Queen’s Park?
I still swear, though I try to reel those off outside of home. Mostly I miss the camaraderie and sense of team. But I’m done with politics. ­Christopher never believed me—he said it’s my calling—but I don’t see the ­passion coming back.

As the guy who came second to Rob Ford in 2010, do you find his catastrophic mayoralty harder to swallow than most Torontonians?
Not really. I respect the choice the voters made. But do I have any regrets? Sometimes I ask myself what would have happened if I had been more of a prick during the campaign. Michael had just come into our lives, and that really softened me. At the end of the day, I probably still would have lost to Ford, and I’d be left an angrier person. Instead, I’m a parent, which was the perfect exit plan.

Who’s going to win the mayoral election?
Olivia Chow. The real question is: what’s going to happen with Ford? I don’t want him to resign. The ballot box is the only way to eliminate the wafting scent that all the Febreze in the world can’t rid us of. Otherwise people will say he was run out of office by the Toronto Star or the police. I don’t want to hear that shit for the rest of my life.

Any advice for how to cope if he is re-elected?
Don’t let it happen. Hold your nose and vote strategically if necessary.

You realize that was a great opportunity to plug your product.
Ha. Not even the strongest weed can numb us against the effects of a second stint under Ford.

  • 00AV

    “Not even the strongest weed can numb us against the effects of a second stint under Ford.”

    Absolutely fantastic quote George

  • John Pehechanho

    Mr. Smitherman, you are one gracious mofo, my man. Good luck with the new venture.

  • Frostmoth

    GREAT INTERVIEW thank you Smitherman.

  • Alex2

    Good Luck in your new venture. And enjoy your family. It is what counts.

  • Ho Hum

    Why didn’t the GUTLESS reporter ask Smitherman how his husband died? The public has never been told the actual circumstances. How can we be sure that he “committed suicide” as opposed to being murdered?

    Smitherman has claimed that his husband was clinically depressed for many years. If this is in fact true WHY did Smitherman leave these two adopted kids in the care of a clinically depressed suicidal man? How was this gay couple even allowed to adopt two kids given Smitherman’s history of admitted drug use and his husbands history of severe depression and apparent hard core drug use up until he died?

    Was his husband using drugs before he died? Peloso was discovered in a state of delirium after his first suicide bid in an area frequented by crack users. Was Peloso a crack user? Has Smitherman reverted to hardcore drug use? Smitherman claims he only used Marijuana very infrequently in his youth and yet he is setting up a company to sell Marijuana ? Does this seem believable? Again why were the adopted kids left in what sounds like a very unhealthy environment – possibly a drug den?

    Is Smitherman still planning to move to Costa Rica – a tax heaven popular with fugitives and “sex tourists” targeting underage children? Why did he chose to buy a house in Costa Rica? What is so special about that place?

    Where is Smitherman getting all his money to buy a new home in Costa Rica and a new Home in Toronto? What exactly does his “G&G Consulting company do and who are its clients? When Smitherman set up the company his target clients were the Green Energy companies that have made a killing from Smithermans Green Energy Act. Has Smitherman received any big “consulting” contracts from Wind-farm developers reaping windfall profits thanks to Smitherman? Has Smitherman received any contracts from SAMSUNG? Why would any company place a LEGITIMATE contract with a “consulting” company headed up by a high-school dropout and form drug addict?

  • Ho Hum

    LOL what are you thanking that creep for? His Billion dollar boondoggles that have put us further in debt? My god there are some stupid people on here.

  • B.S. Detector

    @Ho Hum: I’ll only address the last sentence of your ridiculous rant. The reason any company would deal with this “high school dropout and former drug addict” (your words) is that he has a proven track record of success. Unlike what you’ve been sold by the post-secondary credential mills, in the real world a history of success trumps a framed obedience certificate.

  • Randy McDonald

    I suspect that the police would have investigated had circumstances been suspicious.

  • 00AV

    Wow….. but honestly I’m more shocked that five Toronto Life readers agreed with you, but then again Rob Ford garnered quite a few vote so nothing surprises me anymore

  • 00AV

    Reading through your Disqus posts paints the picture of one sad, angry individual. Please seek help.

  • Canmon

    When Smitherman’s husband died, Smitherman said that the husband had a long history of mental illness. Smitherman himself is a recovering drug addict. I don’t know how the two of them were allowed to adopt. The adoption process is pretty thorough. How did a recovering drug addict and someone with a long history of mental illness slip through the cracks?

  • Mike Mikelson

    Getting into the weed business might seem an odd choice for a former health Minister but is it an odd choice for a former drug addict? I’m happy that he has recovered and built a constructive life but let’s face the simple truth, there is no way this man should be involved in the manufacture of drugs.

  • http://www.edithbranco.com eonlife

    I’m surprised of the reactions from some of the readers, esp. Ho Hum. Its seems like he’s been through a lot (my apologies, I don’t know his complete story) but based on some of the reactions of him adopting, there’s seems more of an upset that he’s gay and adopted two children…. I guess Ho Hum isn’t so gay friendly… tsk tsk.

    And really, does someone smoking weed, make them an addict? – so I guess those people out there who drink everyday, all the time – are alcoholics. It only seems logical.

    Don’t portray Costa Rica has a tax haven and sex tourist place when you’ve never been there – it’s a beautiful place to visit and if he wants to live in Costa Rica – I support his efforts.

    George Smitherman would know more than most people the value of life, the importance of family and finding a way out when you need it… Good luck George, you deserve it! e

  • bobledrew

    He’s gay, not a pedophile. But way to try to troll. Now go back over ot the Toronto Sun where all of your friend is.

  • Ho Hum

    Why didn’t the GUTLESS reporter ask Smitherman how his husband died? The public has never been told the actual circumstances. How can we be sure that he “committed suicide” as opposed to being murdered?

    Smitherman has claimed that his husband was clinically depressed for many years. If this is in fact true WHY did Smitherman leave these two adopted kids in the care of a clinically depressed suicidal man? How was this gay couple even allowed to adopt two kids given Smitherman’s history of admitted drug use and his husbands history of severe depression and apparent hard core drug use up until he died? Assuming the husband did in fact commit suicide we are very lucky that he did not take the lives of the two children as so often happens in suicides especially where an apparent split-up is imminent. I get the feeling that Smitherman was about to dump Peloso. Aparently Smitherman had been getting himself in shape by losing weight (he boasted that none of his suits fit him and he had to buy a new suit to attend Peloso’s funeral). At the same time Smitherman was getting fit he was after his husband to “look after yourself by going to the Gym”. It sounds like his once slim boy-toy was getting too out-of-shape for sugar-daddy Smitherman and like most superficial gay marriages he was looking to trade him in for someone younger and fitter.

    Was his husband using drugs before he died? Peloso was discovered in a state of delirium after his first suicide bid in an area frequented by crack users. Was Peloso a crack user? Has Smitherman reverted to hardcore drug use? Smitherman claims he only used Marijuana very infrequently in his youth and yet he is setting up a company to sell Marijuana ? Does this seem believable? Again why were the adopted kids left in what sounds like a very unhealthy environment – possibly a drug den?

    Is Smitherman st ill planning to move to Costa Rica – a tax heaven popular with fugitives and “sex tourists” targeting underage children? Why did he chose to buy a house in Costa Rica? What is so special about that place?

    Where is Smitherman getting all his money to buy a new home in Costa Rica and a new Home in Toronto? What exactly does his “G&G Consulting company do and who are its clients? When Smitherman set up the co mpany his target clients were the Green Energy companies that have made a killing from Smithermans Green Energy Act. Has Smitherman received any big “consulting” contracts from wind-farm developers reaping windfall profits thanks to Smitherman? Has Smitherman received any contracts from SAMSUNG? Why would any company place a LEGITIMATE contract with a “consulting” company headed up by a high-school dropout and former drug addict?

 

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