Stop the stigmatization of cannabis by forcing stores to obscure windows

Stop the stigmatization of cannabis by forcing stores to obscure windows

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Dominic Mateer started this petition to HEALTH CANADA and

On June 18, 2020 the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation branch amended the Cannabis Licensing Regulation to remove the requirement that Cannabis Retail Stores be enclosed by non-transparent walls, and will instead require that cannabis products, accessories, packages and labelling must not be visible from outside of cannabis retail stores through Policy Directive 20-15.

The policy directive was issued in response to licensee and local government feedback, local police agencies do not feel comfortable entering establishments that they cannot see into. Staff and customers feel closed off from the outside and obscuring all view into our stores unfairly perpetuates the stigmatization of cannabis while liquor stores are free to allow view into their windows.

This change was issued with no notice and was following many stores across BC investing thousands into compliant window coverings which were then no longer required resulting in losses for many licensees across the province. This amendment actually spurred a very long internal discussion between licensees who were erroneously CC'd (not BCC'd) by the LCRB e-mail explaining the change.

As the summer continues many of the cannabis stores in Vancouver began to remove the window coverings which allowed light and atmosphere back into stores that had been hidden from public view. Finally the cannabis regulations seemed to become more reasonable and logical, however in December 2020 the first few stores began to receive contravention notices for allowing obstructed view of cannabis products, accessories or 'transactions'. Regardless of whether one could determine what product they are looking at any visible product is a contravention of the Cannabis Licensing Regulation. 

This inconsistent enforcement of policy directive 20-15 is costing licensees thousands in expenses having to install, remove and re-install window coverings. This regulation also unfairly perpetuates the stigmatization of cannabis and increasing the forbidden fruit fallacy that the Health Canada has created.

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