The Terrifying Truth Behind Frosted Windows in Toronto Cannabis Shops

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The Terrifying Truth Behind Frosted Windows in Toronto Cannabis Shops

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The regulations that require cannabis shops to shield their products from the view of minors have caused concern among cannabis retailers. Many argue that these restrictions should be lifted because they are leaving workers feeling closed off from their neighborhoods and making their stores more likely to be targeted by robbers.

The Gloominess of the Frosted Windows

The frosted windows that adorn cannabis stores blocking out the weather or even who is about to walk into the store can make the day feel long and dark. Elisa Keay, who works at K’s Pot Shop in Leslieville, Toronto, says the frosted windows make workers feel very isolated and disconnected from their surroundings.

The Window Coverings Encourage Theft

Window coverings can encourage theft because they give cover to anyone inside and prevent pedestrians from noticing a crime underway as they pass a store. This can make it easier for robbers to hold up stores and steal cash and weed, leaving workers shaken. Keay said that some of her colleagues and friends in the industry have had their stores held up at gunpoint and have had assaults happen inside their stores.

The Current Regulations in Ontario and Alberta

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which regulates the province’s cannabis retailers, said stores must ensure cannabis products are not visible from the shop’s exterior. To avoid covering their windows, some have built a walled-off entryway that blocks the view into the store.

In Alberta, a “significant rise” in robberies, particularly in Calgary, prompted the cannabis regulator to allow stores to take down window coverings last summer. News reports in the lead up to the regulator’s move detailed a spate of incidents where robbers, who were sometimes armed, entered stores to steal cash and weed, leaving workers shaken.

Push to End Restrictions on Window Displays

Jaclynn Pehota, the executive director at the Retail Cannabis Council of B.C., said she’s unaware of any other province that has relaxed regulations around window coverings to the extent that Alberta has. She intends to keep pushing regulators to relax their window covering and visibility rules and is using safety as one of the top motivators. She said she has heard from at least eight retailers who experienced break-ins recently, including several that turned violent.

High Tide Inc. Encourages Legislation to be Copied Across the Country

High Tide Inc., which has 151 stores in five provinces and has experienced armed robberies, is calling on other provinces and the federal government to copy Alberta’s legislation. Omar Khan, High Tide’s chief communications and public affairs officer, said applying the new Alberta standard coast to coast will be a win for community safety.

Conclusion

The regulations requiring cannabis shops to shield their products from the view of minors have caused concern among cannabis retailers. Many argue that these restrictions should be lifted because they are leaving workers feeling closed off from their neighbourhoods and making their stores more likely to be targeted by robbers. The push to end the restrictions on window displays is gaining momentum across Canada.

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