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Petition calls for ‘no marijuana’ zone around schools

When marijuana becomes legal, it should not be sold within 500 metres of any school, says a candidate for the upcoming trustee byelection in Scarborough-Rouge River, who has launched a petition.

Sharon Kerr said she’s heard concerns about the federal Liberal government’s promise to legalize the recreational use of pot as she’s been going door-to-door campaigning for the Ward 21 seat for the Toronto District School Board left vacant by Shaun Chen, who was recently elected as an MP.

“The topic came up and it became evident that something had to go out,” said Kerr, a mother of two. “We need to put students first, and (parents) don’t want marijuana being sold anywhere near their kidsschools.”

After speaking with her husband and two children — who are 18 and 21 — as well as other parents, she said the 500-metre “no marijuana” zone emerged as a possibility.

“There are enough challenges in life, as parents and students know,” she said of her general opposition to the legalization of marijuana.

She is hoping for 1,000 signatures and as of Sunday already had more than 200.

The petition reads, in part: “Please move quickly to introduce a new city bylaw which makes it prohibited to sell legally available marijuana within a 500-metre perimeter from any (Toronto public or Toronto Catholic) school or facilities which house students on a full-time basis.

“. . . I believe it is your responsibility to help protect students from easy access to marijuana, which is known to have harmful effects on young people. A recent Toronto news report revealed that more young people were likely to try marijuana once it becomes legal. I am asking you to take action now before it is too late.”

In their election platform, the federal Liberals said that “to ensure that we keep marijuana out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the hands of criminals, we will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana.”

In December, Premier Kathleen Wynne said “it makes sense” that the LCBO should sell pot once it is legal, as well as spirits and wine, reported the Star’s Robert Benzie.

“Marijuana may become as available as cigarettes, and parents are concerned about that,” Kerr also said.


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