Article by Adam Carter, CBC News
Can you smell that? It’s a hazy new age of marijuana acceptance, wafting over Canada — but sadly, two of this country’s trailblazing pot pioneers aren’t around to experience it.
For decades, Hamilton’s the late Michael Baldasaro and Walter Tucker famously fought for cannabis legalization, appearing in court and often facing ridicule for their often unorthodox methods.
At the centre of it all were their roles as Ministers in the co-created Church of the Universe, which called smoking pot a sacrament and a religious right.
Now, after their deaths, Canada is heading towards the end of nearly a century of prohibition on recreational marijuana use.
Friends and fellow advocates say the two consummate hippies would not be thrilled with the government oversight packaged with the pending legalization — but say they would no doubt bask in the glow of the wider social acceptance of marijuana they had been dreaming about for decades.
These two didn’t tip the scales for positive public pot perception on their own — but their decades of stoner advocacy still resonates, friends say.
“For so many years they were treated like freaks, and now [weed] is widely accepted,” said Rev. Juliet Boyd, a minister in the Church of the Universe.
“Once you plant a seed, it’s going to flower. This is marijuana’s time.”
There’s no doubting how much these two men loved getting stoned. Baldasaro and Tucker, always with trademark bushy beards and knit caps, were fixtures in Hamilton for many years.