The issue of where to locate marijuana shops is again in the news. BC Cannabis has succeeded in getting West Kelowna to consider its belated application for a store less than 200 metres from George Pringle elementary school.
Trustees with the Central Okanagan School District are justifiably concerned and so is West Kelowna Coun. Carol Zanon.
The school board previously recommended that pot shops should be located at least 500 metres from all schools.
Each municipality in the Okanagan has different regulations. West Kelowna’s appear to be a bit more lenient than the others.
Critics will undoubtedly say the old people “need to get with the times” when it comes to legalized cannabis.
And, maybe they should.
But, kudos to the likes of school board chair Moyra Baxter and Zanon for being concerned. Do we really want to promote marijuana use to young kids?
The issue is not new. The neighbouring Okanagan Skaha School District addressed the same issues when a legalized shop opened within footsteps of Summerland Secondary School and its near-by middle school. Trustees there were mostly concerned, not so much about distance, but because students would be walking past the store on their way to and from school. (That’s not an issue in the case of the West Kelowna application because, if approved, the store will be in a strip mall and the facade will be in the opposite direction.)
Zanon, meanwhile, made a lot of sense when she spoke about the issue publicly.
Ultimately, it’s not up to the school board, but it’s good to see they’re acknowledging the issue.
School boards don’t really have a lot of teeth when it comes to public safety issues, but they do have a voice and we’re glad they’re raising their voice.
As a footnote, does anybody else see the irony in the fact public schools are funded by the provincial government and the application in question is from the government’s pot retailer?