TORONTO – The Ontario Safety League (OSL) wants the province of Ontario to pass a law prohibiting convenience stores that sell drug paraphernalia from selling lottery tickets.
“Store clerks didn’t even bat an eye at these teenagers purchasing pipes and bongs that are clearly meant for smoking drugs like crack and marijuana,” said OSL president and CEO Brian Patterson in a media release. “There needs to be a new law in Ontario: if you sell drug pipes, then you can’t sell lottery tickets.”
The safety league says Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) lottery products are important money-makers for convenience stores and a ban would help deter establishments from selling the drug related items.
“We need action to stop neighbourhood stores from selling drug paraphernalia, particularly to our children,” Patterson said.
Last year, the Ontario safety group released its own study which found that drug pipes and other illegal drug paraphernalia were being sold in many convenience stores across the province.
The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) responded in support against illegal drug paraphernalia sales but pointed out that federal laws already exist today which prohibit sales.
“Duplicating federal law with provincial measures carrying much lower penalties is unnecessary, and would likely be ineffective,” said OCSA CEO Dave Bryans in a media release.
Stores can be fined up to $100,000 and/or six months in prison for a first offense and up to $200,000 or up to a year in prison for subsequent offenses.
The group last year called the sale of drug paraphernalia a public safety issue and encouraged citizens to sign a petition to stop selling the products.
The OSL said it “easily” purchased 50 pieces of drug paraphernalia at different corner store locations across Southern Ontario including in Toronto, Aurora, Brampton, Windsor, Guelph and Ottawa.