The Toronto District School Board says that it wants to be consulted on the location of legal marijuana dispensaries so that it can work to keep them “as far away from schools as possible”
At a meeting on Thursday night, TDSB trustees voting unanimously in favour of having chair Robin Pilkey write a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne that will request that the TDSB be “consulted in all discussions” regarding the regulation and location of legal marijuana dispensaries.
The motion also stated that the director of the TDSB should “work to keep marijuana dispensaries as far away from schools as possible.”
The province has previously indicated that marijuana will be sold at 150 LCBO-run storefronts once the federal government introduces legislation to legalize the drug next July.
Only those 19 years of age or older will be allowed to purchase or possess the drug in Ontario.
“We are concerned. We want to keep these locations away from schools and try to get some more information,” Ward 17 Trustee Ken Lister, who put forward the motion, told CP24 on Friday. “We don’t know what distance would make a difference. We don’t know whether it needs to be 200 metres away, 400 metres away or 800 metres away but we need some data and until then we need to make sure that it stays as far away as possible.”
The TDSB is not the first group to express concern about the location of marijuana storefronts.
In July, Mayor John Tory wrote an open letter to Wynne, advising her that he has “significant concerns” over “how any retail distribution will fit within our communities.”
Speaking with reporters at a press conference on Friday, Tory said he believes the TDSB should have a role to play in dictating where dispensaries will be located alongside other community stakeholders.
“I am very concerned about making sure that we take proper care as to where we put these and respect neighbourhoods, children and retailers,” he said.
The TDSB does not have an official stance on the legalization of marijuana but Lister said that the board does want to “have a voice at the table."
In an interview with CP24 earlier on Friday, fellow trustee Marit Stiles also said that weighing in on the regulation and location of marijuana dispensaries is really “just the start.”
“One of the opportunities we have here is to talk about pot use. There has been no discussion that I am aware of to this point about how we are going to deal with it in the curriculum,” she said. “We are going to have to start talking about in a different way. We are going to have to start talking about the health impacts of pot, which I think they do already but we will have to do a lot more of.”