Should I send my child to a daycare located next to a marijuana dispensary?
Now that Marijuana is no longer the bad boy in many States of the US, parents are expressing concerns about its accessibility in marijuana dispensaries close to schools and daycare centers. In fact, such concerns are even being voiced in Canada. Concerns are that recreational marijuana is being sold in medical marijuana dispensaries, and proximity to schools can influence children to buy the weed, in whichever form. The States that have dropped marijuana from the list of narcotics have imposed age limits on sale of recreational marijuana but concerns are that such laws are not sufficient to keep youngsters away from marijuana, especially if it is available so freely now. Taking such concerns seriously, the State of Colorado imposed additional conditions on location of marijuana dispensaries. Therefore, in Colorado, no marijuana dispensary can be opened within 1000 feet of school premises. Other states have also come up with similar restrictions or are in the process of formulating them. But where does that leave daycare in Brookline? Does the word “school” cover “daycare centers” also?
In the past, parents have not expressed similar concerns about pub or liquor store, but now they want liquor stores and pubs added to the list, and they want such places far as possible from the daycare centers where they leave their young ones. While the little ones are certainly not in position to go to these dispensaries to buy the weed, and there can be no deception possible about their ages; the personnel at daycare centers may use the weed, and little ones may merely copy them. Some believe that the weed makes people violent, and fear that their children may be physically abused by the staff at the daycare centers who may take recreational marijuana or liquor. Others feel that once the effect of weed or even liquor takes over, they may ignore the needs of the toddlers or babies, and that can prove to be risky if children stray out of the premises or touch dangerous things around. A few even felt that their children may be administered marijuana to keep them quiet.
The States that have removed marijuana from the narcotics list may choose to extend the laws that stipulate minimum distance between schools and marijuana dispensaries to daycare centers as well, but that still leaves liquor shops and pubs out of equation. So would new laws be passed on proximity of liquor shops and pubs to daycare centers? There is no easy solution to this problem, of course. Screening of personnel can only guarantee that the staff member was free from any such addiction at the time of joining the daycare center. Periodic screening of personnel working at the daycare centers may perhaps be a better way out, but it is going to cost! The questions that arise then are who will conduct those tests, and who is to bear the costs? The government or the daycare centers? The daycare centers would, of course pass the costs down to parents. Is daycare in Brooklyn going to become more expensive than it already is? Will the parents of children be penalized for not wanting their children to become addicts? These are questions that need answers.
While rules are being formulated and imposed on dispensary owners and property owners who lease their premises to marijuana dispensaries, the fact remains that any adult can buy marijuana and travel up to the school or daycare center to sell the weed to students, teachers, or other personnel. In fact a conduit may also be established whereby such personnel may let students access the weed or liquor. The concerns are real, but perhaps the projections are dramatic.
A review of daycare centers with liquor shops near them needs to be done, as of yesterday. That could shed some light on how such shops affect children, whether or not they are school children. Such study will also give an idea whether marijuana dispensaries will have similar effect.