Ottawa Public Health concerned about home-grown marijuana

When marijuana becomes legal across Canada this summer, Ottawa Public Health wants parents to take steps to ensure mom and dad's home grow-op doesn't become the kids' secret stash.

Ontario will allow people to grow four marijuana plants at home and Gillian Connelly, manager of healthy communities for public health, said they're concerned children might get access to marijuana at home.

"We're seeing this is a possibility that parents need to be concerned about or just aware of," she said on CBC Ottawa's All in a Day.

Connelly said one of the main goals the government has articulated about legalization is to ensure marijuana stays out of the hands of young people. She said that's an important goal, because the drug has a significant impact on developing minds.  

"There are health affects for youth particularly," she said.

She said they want to do public awareness campaigns about those risks, as well as the risks of marijuana to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.  

A survey conducted by public health found that 15 per cent of people in Ottawa had consumed marijuana in the last year, but among students in Grade 11 and Grade 12 that number rose to 35 per cent.

Connelly also raised those concerns with the Ottawa Public Health Board on Monday evening, which passed a motion to send a letter with those concerns to the provincial government. 

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Ottawa Public Health concerned about home-grown marijuana