Pubdate: Mon, 06 Nov 2017
Source: Kingston Whig-Standard (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Sun Media
Author: Steph Crosier
Page: A3


Local LCBO employees who belong to OPSEU are excited and anxious for
Kingston to get its own government-run marjiuana store.

"In my 13 years I never thought this would happen, but I'm excited,"
Teresa Graham, president of OPSEU Local 497, said. Graham spoke with
the Whig-Standard Sunday morning, before her first shift as a fulltime
employee with the LCBO.

"All we've been told is that there is one coming to Kingston, it's
going to be a standalone store, not in the LCBO, run by OPSEU members."

On Friday Ontario Minister of Finance Charles Sousa, Attorney General
Yasir Naqvi and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Eric Hoskins
announced that 40 locations across Ontario will open by next July. The
first batch of stores will be located in Barrie, Brampton, Hamilton,
Kingston, Kitchener, London, Mississauga, Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie,
Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vaughan and Windsor.

Graham said they've been told very little about the process and
speculated where the store would go in Kingston. Ideally it would be
central, but Sousa said during the announcement that the locations
would not be located near schools.

"How far away is the distance when they say not near schools? Because
where is an LCBO where there is no school?" Graham said pointing out a
few locations. "But I can't wait to find out."

The 907 Princess St. LCBO location is near Loyalist Collegiate and St.
Lawrence College. The store at 34 Barrack St. is near Central Public
School, King's Town School, Royal Military College and Queen's
University. The new location on Highway 15 is just down the road from
La Salle Secondary School, Saint Martha Catholic School and Ecole Sir
John A Macdonald. The furthest west end location of the LCBO, at 1089
Midland Ave., is near Cataraqui Woods Elementary School and Holy Cross
Catholic Secondary School.

Social responsibility is an important aspect to what LCBO employees
do, said Graham.

"I imagine there will be lots of training with these new stores. We've
been trained in alcohol because we have to be careful serving the
public, to ensure they aren't intoxicated, we're very diligent with
that," Graham said. "LCBO is all about making sure training is
happening. We go through training all the time, we have an iLearn
program. Anything new or that we need to be refreshed on, we do
through iLearn."

Graham is happy the government has given the responsibility of selling
marijuana to the LCBO.

"As an OPSEU member I am so excited they decided to put it into our
hands where we've already been trained to take care of social
responsibility, plus more jobs," Graham said. "More good-paying jobs
for people and we definitely need that."

Graham said she's nervous about how the program will be laid out.
She's curious to know in what form the stores will receive the
product, if they'll also be selling marijuana in the form of food, and
if they'll also sell accessories.

"I don't know what the training is going to be involved," Graham said.
"It's a huge responsibility with alcohol, so now, to me, it's going to
be an even higher level of responsibility with cannabis. But to put
into our hands is good hands because of the training that we get."

The province plans to set up about 150 standalone cannabis stores by

Ontario was the first province to announce a detailed plan to sell and
distribute recreational marijuana, setting the legal age to purchase
it at 19. The government introduced its marijuana legislation last
week, which contains new penalties for people who are convicted of
illegally selling or distributing cannabis, including fines of up to
$250,000 and/or jail of up to two years less a day.
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