Page 38 - Sharp September 2021
P. 38

     Jay Baruchel
Listening to the first few episodes, it’s really different from so much of what you’ve done. It’s a really journalistic form of storytelling. How did this come to be?
Well, thank you! I take that as a compliment. I was actually in the process of building a podcast myself when I was offered this one. For whatever combi- nation of reasons, they thought I was the right guy for this, and by the time it came to me, much of the interviewing had been done and they’d distilled it down to the relevant beats.
It had really started to take narrative shape, soallIhadtodowashelpitalongandstayoutof the way. So much of it really came down to just me recording in a closet or my bedroom, but the producers knew what it was supposed to be. We would just have different goes at it, and they really guided it.
It’s obvious that cannabis is a genuine interest of yours. What was the process of learning about the industry like? It seems like we’re in a real wild wild west.
I went from knowing my means of engagement, which was like, I was a guy who went to a dealer and now I’m a guy who goes to a store. So that was more or less my extent of understanding and my relationship to it.
But in doing this show, you get to see the entire Dickensian ecosystem around the full thing, and it is filled with adventure and cruelty and unfair- ness and the ugly face of capitalism. Also, the fact that every province kind of did it their own way. I remember the leadup to legalization, we kept hear- ing in the news that we weren’t ready for it and the date was arbitrary, whatever that meant. And I would argue that the entire country was ready for it, because it had been a normalized part of everyday Canadian life for my entire fucking life! We were beyond ready for it, and I realized what they meant by “We’re not ready for it” was they hadn’t figured out the most efficient way to make money or some fucking version of that.
And so, the big takeaway for me, one , was that yeah, we still don’t have a clear sense of what amnesty looks like for previous convictions. There’s no merit to legalizing it if so many people are still languishing for shit they shouldn’t have been [in jail for] in the first place. The other big takeaway for me was how shitty it is for certain individuals to have made careers and identities for themselves based
on the Weird
World of Weed
On his new podcast, Highly Legal, the actor explores Canada’s complicated history with cannabis
T HE WORD “ICON” IS THROWN AROUND RECKLESSLY. BUT FOR JAY BARUCHEL, it’s a word that actually fits. One of the rare truly Canadian talents who’s found
success both at home and abroad.
With his huge success in acting, directing, and writing, Baruchel now takes his turn
hosting the Canadian Audible Original podcast Highly Legal, which debuted in mid-August. Highly Legal is an eight-part series that looks at what cannabis legalization has meant to Canadians, both culturally and legally, since 2018.
Over Zoom, Baruchel spoke to Sharp about his journey as a stoner, what this means to him politically, and what he’s learned about Canada through the lens of legalization.

   36   37   38   39   40