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B.C. to allow cannabis stores to have transparent windows

Past requirement for non-transparent glass had clashed with some city bylaws
City Cannabis Co.'s store on Fraser Street has translucent windows, as provincial law had required | Chung Chow

Legal cannabis stores in B.C. are now able to have transparent street-front windows, the government announced June 18.

Previously, to the chagrin of many cannabis retailers, all exterior storefronts had to have at least translucent glass so no one from the public could see inside.

The requirement for non-transparent windows also rankled municipal politicians in cities such as New Westminster, where there were bylaws that required all retailers to have transparent exterior windows.

The requirement put cannabis retailers in the Catch-22 situation where in order to conform to city bylaws, they had to break provincial law; and in order to conform to provincial law, they had to break city bylaws.

“We don’t want to see our retail districts with stores with essentially blacked-out windows,” New Westminster mayor Jonathan Coté told Business in Vancouver last year.

“That can have a very negative impact on a commercial retail street. It has a negative aesthetic value, and from our perspective, it negatively affects public safety and makes a street an unfriendly place to be.”

New Westminster, however, relented and has allowed cannabis retailers to have translucent glass.

Federal law continues to ban anyone underage from being able to see cannabis products inside a store but it was the provincial government decision to ban clear glass from front windows.

"I'm really pleased this has come to pass because I think it serves to protect the safety of the staff," Jaclynn Pehota, executive director of the Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers, told BIV.

"Opaque windows are counter to every risk-management document when it comes to business safety."

One other change is that the B.C. government has created a new program called Selling It Right, which it will require cannabis store workers and licensees to complete in order to be working in the sector.

Previously, workers were required to pass a rigorous certification program and criminal record check.

"These changes underline our government's efforts to be flexible in the rules governing the legal cannabis industry as we gather more experience in a regulated market," B.C. Attorney General David Eby said in a release.

"These changes will help employees feel safer while at work and ensure cannabis workers will be thoroughly trained to be safe, smart and socially responsible in their jobs.”

The course can be completed online for a $35 fee, plus GST, and certification is valid for two years after completion.

Existing licensees and staff have until September 30 to complete training before the regulation comes into force. New cannabis retail store licensees, marketing licence applicants, retail and government cannabis store sales staff and supervisors must earn certification prior to operating a store, working in a store or being issued a marketing licence.

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