TDSB trustees demand a say in where marijuana stores are located

Trustees with the Toronto District School Board want a say on where pot stores are located. In particular, they want them kept “as far away from schools as possible."

As the July 1, 2018 legalization date looms, trustees say there are a lot of unanswered questions

On July 1, 2018 Ottawa plans to legalize and regulate the sale of pot across Canada. (Rebecca Silverstone/CBC)

Trustees with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) want a say as to where pot stores will be located, and say pot should be sold "as far away from schools as possible," according to a news release sent out on Friday.

"Part of the issue is that we have not had any contact with the city or the province about this. So what's been decided or not is not clear to us at this point," TDSB chair Robin Pilkey told CBC Toronto.

The release says the request is a result of "many unanswered questions" before legalization takes place next year.

"This is unprecedented across western countries, and I'm not sure exactly how this is going to roll out," Pilkey said.

Details left up to provinces

Ahead of the July 1, 2018 plan to legalize and regulate the sale of pot across Canada, many crucial decisions are being left up to each province, including the age limit, and how pot will be sold and taxed.

Last month, the city's licensing and standards department put out a report that highlights areas in which Toronto needs more assistance from the province when it comes to marijuana legalization.

"We feel it's important our community interests are considered," Tracey Cook, the department's executive director, told CBC Toronto back in September.

"We would not want to see storefronts happening near high schools or public schools."

The framework announced by the province in early September specifies the use of recreational cannabis will be prohibited in public places, cars and workplaces, and will only be allowed in private residences.

Highlights of the plan include:

  • Eighty stand-alone stores that will be open by July 1, 2019, with roughly 150 opened by 2020.
  • Online distribution that will be available across Ontario from July 2018 onward.
  • A proposed minimum age of 19 to use, purchase and possess recreational cannabis in Ontario.

TDSB input would be 'most welcome,' mayor says

At a news conference Friday morning, Mayor John Tory said the school board's input into the placement of pot stores would be "most welcome," but added that he does not expect there to be a cannabis dispensary on "every street corner."

"I'm very concerned to make sure we take proper care to respect neighbourhoods and children and retailers as to where we put these cannabis dispensaries," Tory said.

With files from Mike Crawley, Lauren Pelley and Ramna Shahzad