Pubdate: Thu, 10 Jun 2010
Source: Barrie Advance, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Michele Lawson


BARRIE - If you have the munchies or even want them, variety stores
have a selection of items to satisfy.

"It's one of my pet peeves," said Kelly Doran, who is spearheading a
Barrie Downtown Neighbourhood Association (BDNA) campaign to have drug
paraphernalia removed from corner-shop displays. "I was in a variety
store within walking distance of work and right beside the candy bars
was a five-foot display full of this crap."

She isn't as concerned about the same products offered at nearby
specialty shops.

"I won't frequent them because I don't want that, but I don't want to
see it when I go for milk," said Doran. "And I don't want my children
to see it."

Ward 2 Coun. Jeff Lehman confirmed the city's legal department is
looking into a possible bylaw.

"I think it's a great idea," he told The Advance.

In the meantime, the BDNA plans to ask offending shopkeepers to
voluntarily remove or restrict displays.

"We're not naive, we know this isn't going to stop drug use," Doran
said. "But if you don't see it in front of your face all the time,
you'll be distracted by something else - hopefully something legal."

A staff member at Anne's Variety said the small, inexpensive pipes on
display are popular with teenagers.

A block away, Maple Convenience owner Ron Kim said he restricts sales
to adults.

He reports a decrease in business since the recession and the Five
Points fire several years ago.

"If they ban (smoking tools), hopefully they'll replace it with
something," he added, voicing a desire to sell alcohol.

Although the Canadian Criminal Code bans "instruments or literature
for illicit drug use," Barrie Police Chief Wayne Frechette said this
merchandise falls through the legislative cracks because it can also
be used for tobacco.

"There's also a loosening attitude in marijuana - at least in the
courts," said Frechette. "You can get caught with a pocketful of dope
and nobody's going to jail."

The district health unit, whose chronic disease prevention - tobacco
department enforces tobacco display and sales laws, is also powerless
in this.

"Accessories aren't covered in the Smoke-Free Ontario Act," said
department supervisor John Niddery. 
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