Editorial: Seeing pot shops clearly

Add another item to the list of unexpected consequences of marijuana legalization. Entrepreneurs who want to put a pot shop into one of downtown Victoria’s heritage buildings will probably be out of luck.

That’s because the city, quite rightly, requires that windows in heritage shops be transparent, so that shoppers and strollers get the full experience of seeing the goods on display. But the provincial government doesn’t want you to see those goods if they are made with cannabis, so its new regulations require pot shops to have opaque windows.

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Setting aside the hypocrisy of hiding away a product that is legal and from which the government hopes to earn significant revenue, we can understand the pressures on government regulators.

At the same time, attractive storefronts give character to heritage shopping areas. Imagine strolling Government Street to find its classic fronts masked by frosted glass. City councillors can’t, so the chances are they would turn down any heritage-alteration permit from a pot store that wanted to install the required opaque windows.

The obvious result is that, unless the province changes its rules, cannabis retailers won’t be able to set up shop in heritage buildings.

The province could bend, but the city should stand firm.

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