Okanagan vape, cannabis store owners voice concerns about window coverings

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Vape and cannabis store owners voice concerns
Vape and cannabis store owners voice concerns – Mar 20, 2023

A Penticton, B.C., vape shop owner is calling on the government to rethink mandatory window coverings due to safety concerns.

Despite having cameras and a guard dog, Penticton Vape owner Holly Thompson says with her windows covered she still feels unsafe.

“I feel like it’s not if I get broken into, it’s when,” said Thompson.

“Obviously they are hiding everything that is going on in my store. If I am being held up at gunpoint, or I have unruly customers in here, I am on my own.”

Just last week, a man armed with a gun attempted to rob an East Vancouver cannabis store.  However, because the windows were covered by an opaque film, no one from outside the store could see what was happening inside.

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It is a federal requirement for cannabis stores to block the sight of products to protect children and the same rule applies to vape shops.

“I have concerns, I’m watching the cameras when I’m not here. It’s a big concern,” said Thompson.

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“Especially being female and alone and I knew the risks when I got into this business when I came to open this store but I can’t let that stop me.”

Click to play video: 'Attempted robbery at Vancouver pot shop'
Attempted robbery at Vancouver pot shop

Meanwhile, PH Cannabis co-owner, Chris Nuessler, echoed the very same concerns.

Prior to entering the cannabis industry, Nuessler was an RCMP officer trained in crime prevention through environmental design.

“The fact that we have to black our windows it’s not only a safety thing for the people inside, it’s a safety thing for police or any first responders coming to this location. Because you can’t see what’s happening inside. It goes totally against the way I was trained,” said Nuessler.

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“I have a young lady working with me, she stands four-foot nothing and to leave her alone in a spot that you can’t see in or out of is just not right.”

He went on to say that children do need to be protected but there may be other ways to do so without covering all shop windows.

“I taught the [Drug Abuse Resistance Education] program in Saskatchewan, and children can be taught. We don’t let children run around with lighters, they’re trained at home that if you carry a lighter you might burn down the house,” said Nuessler.

“While it goes to same with cannabis, you see that red stop sign with the cannabis leaf in it and it says THC on it. Let’s educate the children in regard to that.”

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