Pubdate: Mon, 01 Feb 2016
Source: Richmond Hill Post (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Post City Magazines, Inc.
Author: Ron Johnson


Torontonian starts petition, runs for trustee in effort to protect
children from marijuana legalization

After the election of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, marijuana
legalization was a given. It was coming, the only thing left were the
details. And this is what concerns Toronto native Sharon Kerr. She
wanted to make sure that any marijuana sales was located far from
schools and started a petition to drive home her point, .

Have you been in contact with members of Toronto City Council and
Premier Wynne? And have they provided a policy response to your petition?

I have written to all of the local city councillors in the Scarborough
community council area, asking them to take action on behalf of the
parents and families here. I will be sending the same request to the
remaining 34 city councillors including Mayor John Tory. Only
councillor Jim Karygiannis has responded thus far. He told me he will
be moving motions in keeping with the request for a school-area ban.

How many signatures have you received so far?

It's been a whirlwind of activity. I have teams of parents - I call
them the mom brigade - who have been gathering signatures. We are at
about 600 signatures so far, and we have received about 200 of those

When legalization comes to Toronto, do you think the LCBO is in the
best position to offer the products for sale?

I don't know where the sale of recreational marijuana should be
located. I just know that parents tell me they don't want it near
their children's school. My petition calls for a prohibition of at
least 500 metres away from schools and recreation centres.

The legal age will likely vary from province to province. Do you think
it should be the same age as drinking alcohol, 19 or 18 or 21, like in
the United States?

Just like I can't think of any good age to start smoking cigarettes, I
can't really answer that question. The effects of THC, the active
ingredient in marijuana, on the developing brain is extremely
negative. I am not trying to be alarmist, but I don't know of any
parent who would sanction their child 18 or 19 years old indulging in
pot smoking. My husband and I worked very hard to see our two kids go
to university. Smoking recreational marijuana will not contribute to
their academic success. I want my own kids studying so they can
achieve to their ability. I want the same for all students in the
Toronto District School Board, which is why I'm running for trustee.

Should Ontario ban the sale of edibles, such as pot candies, that have
raised concerns regarding young people?

Yes! Parents need to know that recreational marijuana legalization
will bring all the social ills of big tobacco but with the
intoxicating effects of alcohol. Marketing to young people is what we
used to see with tobacco products. I fear that, if we don't get out in
front of the politicians, we will have big trouble. Hundreds of
retailers will start selling it and the politicians will say, "Oh we
can't stop this; it's too popular now." Although proponents say pot is
"less harmful" than alcohol, I don't know anyone who got harmed from
living a drug-free life.
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