On June 18th, 2020, the Provincial Government released a Cannabis Licensing Regulation Amendment; cannabis retailers are now allowed to have clear windows. On October 17th, 2018, cannabis was legalized in Canada and contradictory legislation came into fruition. If you ask the cannabis community, many will say that legalization was the new prohibition. Until the details get worked out, we all stay stuck in the days of stigma and fear. Thankfully, our province is starting to see reason and change the rules that don’t make sense. For a cannabis retailer, here is what clear windows can mean…
What changed for cannabis retailers?
According to the initial regulations, a cannabis retail store had to be located in a permanent building or structure and be enclosed by floor to ceiling walls that are not transparent. Cannabis retail stores still need to operate in a permanent building or structure but the rules about the enclosure have been replaced. Now, according to BC Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch, “Cannabis, cannabis accessories, and packaging and labeling of cannabis and cannabis accessories must not be visible from outside the cannabis retail store.”
Protect the children…
This regulation was made with the intention of protecting minors and it thankfully changed to protect the people who it actually affects, the retail staff. Originally, the fear of clear windows came from treating cannabis like tobacco. After all, when it comes to cigarettes, you see one and you want one; the Province was worried that cannabis would affect our youth in the same way. In a tragic twist of irony, having opaque windows created a dilemma specific to parents. As no minors are allowed inside of a cannabis retail store, if a parent wants to make a purchase, they are forced to leave their child in their vehicle or outside of the cannabis retail store.
Not having the ability to see their child through the windows of the store, made the regulation a huge safety risk for parents.
Municipal vs Provincial Regulations for Cannabis Retailers
On top of it not making sense, the provincial regulation for window transparency often contradicted the municipal rules. For cannabis retail staff, having transparent windows provided a sense of security and safety. In the event of a robbery, anyone from the street would be able to look in and see what was going on. To many Municipal governments, this made sense. Clear windows became mandatory in many municipalities…until The Cannabis Act came into law, making everyone pay to change their storefronts.
The legalization of cannabis has been a giant mess but it’s nice to see that the rules are changing. The laws we live by must directly reflect the needs of the people. When it comes to the windows are the Cannabis retail operation, the Provincial Government is starting to see clearly.