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armed robbery attempt fails at east vancouver weed store

Armed Robbery Attempt Fails at East Vancouver Weed Store

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) is investigating the incident. But since a firearm was likely involved, unless it was a replica, police are taking the incident very seriously.

One robber got more than he bargained for attempting to rob a cannabis store in Canada. Kingsway Cannabis in East Vancouver, British Columbia posted a 20-second video on Twitter on March 14, showing a failed armed robbery attempt the night before.

CTV Vancouver reports that an armed robbery-gone-wrong was captured on video and shared online. The video shows a man—most likely not experienced in crime—bursting into the store on March 13 shortly after 8 p.m.

The man in the video points what appears to be a gun at a woman behind the counter, who flees. The man attempts to go behind the counter, but is stopped short by a locked half-door blocking his way. 

Then the guy tries to rip out the register, but doesn’t seem to try hard enough, gives up, and then runs out of the store empty-handed. It appears the man wasn’t prepared to break a cash register open.

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) is investigating the incident. But since a firearm was likely involved, unless it was a replica, police are taking the incident very seriously.

“Whether this was a real gun or a fake gun, we don’t know. That’s something we’re investigating,” said VPD Cst. Tania Visintin. “Nonetheless, this is terrifying for everyone involved. Whether this is a cannabis store or a candy shop, it’s terrifying no matter where it happens.”

Kingsway Cannabis posted the video and also questioned if Health Canada’s requirements are actually helping.

Last night in Vancouver someone attempted to rob our cannabis store. 🙁
Maybe it’s time for the government to re-think the mandatory window frosting. pic.twitter.com/oeMeKz2Axz

— Kingsway Cannabis (@BCmarijuana) March 14, 2023

Protecting Minors from Seeing Weed or Creating a Hazard?

Because the store’s windows were frosted, the employee who had a gun pointed in her face couldn’t see the suspect approaching. “Maybe it’s time for the government to re-think the mandatory window frosting,” Kingsway Cannabis tweeted.

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Health Canada requires that stores prevent minors from viewing cannabis products, i.e. frosted windows, but it’s not good when an intruder is approaching. Health Canada requires that stores ensure no cannabis or accessories are visible from outside the premises in order to protect them from the view of minors. 

The British Columbia government already dropped the frosted window requirement, but Health Canada still requires cannabis stores to have frosted windows in order to stay compliant.

Other stores had the same issue, and they say it’s because the window coverings actually make things more dangerous.

iHeart Radio reports that recently, Nanaimo-based Mood Cannabis was subject to back-to-back robberies, and blamed the visibility clause. 

“I can’t provide a safe environment for my employees because of the regulations (right now),” Kingsway Cannabis owner Chuck Varabioff told iHeart Radio. “I’m going to rally a bunch of the store owners I know in the Lower Mainland and in the Interior because they say ‘You can’t fight the government,’ but we’re going to give it a helluva shot.”

“After the second time he came in we removed the window coverings for our staff and customers,” said Mood Cannabis owner Cory Waldron. A cannabis inspector told him to replace window coverings since cannabis was visible from the street. “This regulation was completely based on stigma and there’s no rationale behind it,” said Waldron. “I don’t see the appeal to our youth by seeing this (bland) packaging.”

Health Canada is currently reviewing if the rules and regulations in place are working, three years after retail sales were authorized in the country. 

The Cannabis Council of Canada is begging to repeal the visibility clause on the basis it makes stores targets for robbers, and it makes stores uninviting as well.

Armed robbery