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LETTER: Safety concerns in the cannabis industry

Editor:

My name is Kristi Young and I am the general manager of Zagas Cannabis Shop in Prince George, BC. I am reaching out to you today about the Cannabis Act which received Royal Assent over three years ago.  

Recently there was an incident within the cannabis community that occurred in Calgary, Alberta. I feel that being proactive and looking into the regulations surrounding safety need to be addressed and reevaluated before any further incidents occur or the severity increases. The safety of our employees within our cannabis stores needs to be paramount. Specifically, two sections within the Cannabis Act, Sections 29 and 30, make our stores potential targets for robbery or more:

  • 29 – Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited for a person that is authorized to sell cannabis to display it, or any package or label of cannabis, in a manner that may result in the cannabis, package or label being seen by a young person.
  • 30 – Unless authorized under this Act, it is prohibited for a person that sells a cannabis accessory to display it, or any package or label of a cannabis accessory, in a manner that may result in the cannabis accessory, package or label being seen by a young person.

These rules have recently been updated to allow stores to remove the coverings if cannabis or cannabis accessories are not visible from the outside. This was a great first step, but I feel the safety needs within our stores require additional steps. For many of us retailers removing window coverings is not feasible, and to accomplish such a feat we would need to alter our stores with walls or other obstructions in a manner that reintroduces the same risk to the health and safety of our customers and employees. If a robbery or similar situation were to occur within our stores as it currently stands there would be no indication from the exterior of the store that an incident was taking place therefore not allowing for help to potentially be provided.

Currently there exists regulations within the Cannabis Act to prevent minors from ever entering the stores even if they are accompanied by an adult. As cannabis is becoming more normalized within Canada our stores should in turn be more normalized akin to liquor stores. Currently liquor stores do not have to cover their windows, and yet alcohol is a product that is regulated in a similar way. I am hoping as cannabis has now been legalized for three years with little to no repercussions that we can break the stigma on cannabis stores and support the safety of Canadian workers by removing the window coverings.

Kristi Young

Zaga’s Cannabis Shop

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