Rick Mercer blasts tokers for passing around a joint

“Why not just French kiss each other, go home and catch your house on fire?”

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Passing a joint around is a time-honoured tradition among cannabis users, but the conventional wisdom these days is that it’s too risky.

To help flatten the coronavirus curve, we are all being asked to practise social distancing—and that means keeping your joint, pipe, or bong to yourself.

Rick Mercer gets it. In fact, the Canadian comedy icon and social commentator believes in the new rules so strongly that when he observed someone flouting them, he decided to come out of retirement and deliver his first televised rant since his own show, The Rick Mercer Report, went off the air in 2018.

“Yesterday, I saw a group of people walking down the street passing around a joint,” Mercer said in a segment that aired on The National on March 31. “Seriously? Passing around a joint? Legal? Yes. Stupid? Big time yes. Why not just French kiss each other, go home and catch your house on fire?”

Mercer noted that around 95 percent of Canadians are doing the right thing, but added that “some of us are bending the rules and it has to stop because it is through a loophole that the virus will get in. We can do this, but only together, all of us together. Flatten the curve, plug the holes.”

Some cannabis users might consider taking a break from smoking for the time being. As Erik Altieri, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told Rolling Stone recently, “Individuals should consider that consuming hot smoke from combusted plant material can be an irritant to the respiratory system, especially for those currently showing symptoms.”

Altieri said combustion adds unnecessary stress to the respiratory system, even in individuals who are not infected, and smoking could exacerbate symptoms in those who do have the virus. 

For the time being, edibles, oils, and tinctures might be a safer choice.

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