STATEMENT FROM JENNIFER KEESMAAT ON CANNABIS LEGALIZATION
TORONTO -- October 17, 2018: I welcome the federal government's decision to pardon past convictions for simple possession. With cannabis now legal in our country, the opportunity to build a future in our city shouldn’t be held back by the laws of the past. Without amnesty, hundreds of thousands of people would continue to feel the effects of outdated laws whose enforcement has had a disproportionate impact on people of colour and the poor.
Jobs in many industries in the city require a clean criminal record to apply. For many, a simple possession charge -- a charge now not enforced under Canada’s new legal cannabis regime -- is all that stands in the way between them and a better future. This decision could open doors to employment and other opportunities for so many across Toronto, and it's the right move.
I share the concern of many residents about what’s in store in this new world of legal cannabis, and we need to ensure that the character of our neighbourhoods isn't negatively affected. One concrete action we can take is to amend municipal zoning to prevent numerous cannabis stores from clustering in close proximity to each other and driving out neighbourhood businesses from our main streets. This is a change I will support if elected Mayor.