Ottawa

OPH urges parents to stash pot away from kids

When marijuana becomes legal across Canada this summer, Ottawa Public Health wants parents to take steps to ensure mom and dad’s home grow-op doesn’t become the kids’ secret stash.

Agency worried kids could get access to pot through home grow-ops

Gillian Connelly, Manager of Healthy Communities at Ottawa Public Health speaks to the agency's board about some of their concerns related to marijuana. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

When marijuana becomes legal across Canada this summer, Ottawa Public Health wants parents to take steps to ensure mom and dad's home grow-op doesn't become the kids' secret stash.

Ontario will allow people to grow four marijuana plants at home and Gillian Connelly, manager of healthy communities for public health, said they're concerned children might get access to marijuana at home.

"We're seeing this is a possibility that parents need to be concerned about or just aware of," she said on CBC Ottawa's All in a Day.

Connelly said one of the main goals the government has articulated about legalization is to ensure marijuana stays out of the hands of young people. She said that's an important goal, because the drug has a significant impact on developing minds.  

"There are health effects for youth particularly," she said.

She said they want to do public awareness campaigns about those risks, as well as the risks of marijuana to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.  

The Canadian Community Health Survey found in 2015 that 13.8 per cent of Ottawans over 19 years of age had consumed marijuana in the last year, higher than the 10.8 per cent of people in Ontario overall. 

The Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey found in 2017 that 36 per cent of students in Grades 11 and 12 had used marijuana in the last year. 

Connelly also raised those concerns with the Ottawa Public Health Board on Monday evening, which passed a motion to send a letter with those concerns to the provincial government. 

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