Cannabis And Fine Edibles, an independent cannabis retailer with four Ontario locations, announced Tuesday it has joined the Canadian Cannabis Retailers’ Union.
The CCRU is a recently launched non-profit group that promotes standards by training retailers how to responsibly sell cannabis while creating safer stores and communities, according to its website.
CAFE will be required to abide by the CCRU’s three core principles: following Canada’s broader regulatory objectives, training staff to the highest standard and promoting harm reduction in-store.
These are principles that CAFE was built on and already practices, the Ontario retailer said in a press release. Joining the CCRU helps publicly solidify its commitment to these standards, it added.
The CCRU said it will conduct annual audits to ensure compliance with the group’s directives. Retailers are tested to see how they are preventing the sale of cannabis to minors, how the store is promoting responsible consumption and how the store is keeping its staff safe.
Staff safety and legal compliance a balancing act
Keeping employees safe while staying within the lines of the Cannabis Act has been tripping up retailers in recent months.
The industry standard of covering store windows so children can’t see cannabis products, for example, has come under fire for promoting theft and compromising staff safety.
Earlier this month, an “eyes in and eyes out” strategy was adopted by Alberta-based Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. (TSX: FAF) when the company announced it was removing window coverings from all of its stores. After being robbed the company said it needed to find a balance between hiding weed from youth’s eyes and keeping employees safe.
Other strategies involve simple solutions like making sure employees never work alone in case a customer gets aggressive or threatening.
The CCRU mandates all of its members take a two-day retail class created by the association and the North American College of Pharmaceutical Technology, and launched this January. To date, CAFE said around 50 of its retail staff have been trained.
By joining the CCRU, CAFE can also distribute the association’s dosing guidelines and put customers’ weed in childproof bags, which the association said it was distributing two years before Health Canada mandated child-resistant packaging.
“CAFE has grown to become Ontario’s largest cannabis retailer as a result of a forward-looking philosophy which emphasize superior products, the best in-store experiences, and the importance of safety for its customers and the community at large,” CAFE spokesperson David Shuang said in the statement.
“We are proud to join the Canadian Cannabis Retailers Union to further this mission.”