A reality TV star and extremely wealthy business magnate wants to be the leader of the country, and no, you’re not reading a pre-Trump election article. The business magnate is Kevin O’Leary and he is hoping to lead Canada.
In an odd deja vu moment for the North American political landscape, O’Leary, a very successful investor and fund manager officially announced that he is running for the leadership of Canada’s Conservative Party in an effort to dethrone Canada’s current Prime Minister. O’Leary stated in a press release that “Canada cannot afford another four years of Justin Trudeau.”
O’Leary draws many similarities to the United States President, with his blunt, unapologetic tone when describing his dislike for the establishment and detailing how he would do things differently.
Like Trump, he is also known for his reality TV persona. O’Leary spent eight years starring in the CBC show “Dragon’s Den,” before transferring his celebrity business status to ABC’s “Shark Tank,” a similar program where entrepreneurs present business offers in the hopes of investment.
O’Leary is adamant that Prime Minister Trudeau is putting Canada in a position of debt for the next few decades and has ideas as to how to change that, but the party he might eventually lead has been notorious for opposing cannabis legislation in the past. So what are Mr. O’Leary’s views on pot?
Marijuana.com contacted Mr. O’Leary and did not get a response, however, in his previous discussions with the media it has been clear that he is 100% for the legalization of cannabis.
In October of 2015, back when Prime Minister Trudeau was first elected and adult-use marijuana was only a campaign promise, O’Leary spoke with CTV News where he was straightforward regarding his intentions to invest in marijuana stocks.
He stated that he sees “spectacular returns” from the legalization of cannabis. His ambitions at the time were abruptly quelled by his legal team citing the laws at the time, particularly in the United States, could leave him open to criminal prosecution.
In the same piece, O’Leary said that he believes marijuana should be “taxed heavily because Canada is spending a tremendous amount of money imprisoning people for a drug I think eventually is going to be legalized.”
In an October interview with Business Insider, O’Leary was enthusiastic about the legalization of cannabis.
In the interview O’Leary said, “This is like the end of prohibition. It’s going to be a remarkable opportunity. The cashflow in Colorado is three times what they thought it was going to be. They did the right thing by legalizing it and it’s now a huge cash crop. People should not be going to jail for marijuana. This is substance that’s been used by humans for thousands of years. It’s stupid what we’ve done to it, and I think it has to be federally legal.”
On Jan. 18, 2017, O’Leary announced his intentions to run for the Conservative Party leadership. He appeared on CTV’s “Power Play” and his previous comments on cannabis were upheld. On the show O’Leary said he considers himself a feminist who supports LGBT rights, access to abortion, the legalization of marijuana and assisted suicide.
Although President Trump has gone on record as saying he is for States’ rights when it comes to cannabis, the recent comments made by O’Leary are of stark contrast to Republican party views.
O’Leary will continue his campaign to lead the Conservative Party which will all be decided after the vote on May 27. Whether or not he will manage to become the new Prime Minister in 2019 is up for the usual debate and speculation.
At the very least, the world knows O’Leary supports cannabis reform wholeheartedly, which is something the Conservatives have been vehemently opposed to in the recent past. But if a supporter of legal adult-use marijuana is leading the Conservative Party, there will be no political opposition standing in the way of Canadian cannabis.