Alberta cannabis stores no longer need window coverings

| David Brown

Alberta’s cannabis regulator will no longer require cannabis stores to use window coverings to block views into their stores from the street. 

The announcement, made today in a letter sent to retailers, is in response to numerous cannabis store robberies, especially in the Calgary area

AGLC says they are concerned for the safety of staff, customers, and responding police officers.

Specifically, AGLC has removed section 3.2.6 of the Retail Cannabis Store Handbook that prohibits cannabis products, accessories, or any other cannabis-related item or material from being visible from the exterior of the premises.

AGLC’s Executive Vice President Dave Berry says their Board has approved this change “to ensure that AGLC policy is not inadvertently contributing to targeting these locations due to a lack of visibility into the site”.  

However, the provincial regulator is also quick to note that the change does not mean cannabis stores can replace window coverings with outward-facing promotions and advertising materials. 

The change is effective immediately. 

Omar Khan, Senior Vice President of Corporate and Public Affairs at High Tide Inc, which operates 75 cannabis stores in Alberta, says he’s happy to hear of the long-demanded rule change. 

“As Alberta’s largest licensed cannabis retail chain, through our Canna Cabana branded stores, High Tide Inc. welcomes today’s announcement from the AGLC that it will remove regulations prohibiting cannabis products, accessories or any other cannabis-related items or material from being visible from the exterior of the premises,” says Khan. 

“Complying with this regulation meant that most licensed cannabis stores in the province have been forced to black out exterior windows making them prime targets for criminal elements.  Today’s news is a win for our employee safety, and our ability to continue pushing back against illicit market operators.”

Alena Jenkins, the owner of Five Points Cannabis in Calgary says she has been pushing back on the rule for years and even took off the window covering on their door in January 2020. 

“We already took off our door wrapping over two years ago, for exactly that reason,” explains Jenkins. “We were actually the first in Calgary to take off our wrappings. I felt that my right to protect my staff superseded (Alberta’s rules). So we’re really excited to take off the rest of the wrappings, now.”

“We have a lot more checks and balances in terms of our security than a good portion of other business,” she continues. “We’re really just a retail store with a lot of security precautions, so it’s nice to get rid of this unsafe rule”

Jenkins says she hopes to have the window coverings off by the end of the day.

Featured image via Google Maps