A first look inside Virden’s cannabis store

As Virden’s new cannabis store prepares to open, the owners are outfitting it to a high level of security, as mandated by provincial legislation.

The co-owner of Cannabis 204, Keith Horn, recently gave the Empire-Advance a tour of the former Keystone Wealth office on Nelson St. E, still under renovation but getting closer to ready for opening.

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He pointed out 25 security cameras installed both inside and outside the building, monitoring the store in real time. Horn opens up his mobile phone to the app that lets him see exactly what the cameras see, anytime, no matter where he is. (Horn also owns a hotel in Winnipeg.)

The law requires that the cannabis be kept in a vault, so Horn had one built - a windowless cube the size of a single garage, reinforced with a layer of metal grill beneath the drywall and the entrance protected by a thick steel door.

Provincial cannabis laws also mandate that passersby not be able to see the merchandise through the windows or entrance, so there is a huge floor-to-ceiling curtain that will form a sightline barrier between the front windows and the retail space. Customers will have to navigate around the curtain to access the showroom.

The windows are reinforced on the inside with black security bars. Banks of glass shelving have been assembled in the store, ready for product.

Horn says there is still some stigma about buying and using cannabis, given its very recent legalization, so he plans to offer home delivery service to ease concerns some may have about being seen entering a cannabis store.

He and store manager Spencer Payson have hired four staff members so far and say they will make further hiring decisions based on how busy the shop is.

A shipment of accessories (pipes etc.) arrived last Wednesday and their first shipment of cannabis is expected Dec. 3. The store will open soon after.

Horn says cannabis edibles, which were more recently legalized, will also be stocked as soon as they are available.  

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