Hawaii Five-O theme song outlawed from BC cannabis stores

Published on July 12, 2019 · Last updated July 28, 2020
volume speaker music

Let’s face it: legalization is still a very new concept to countless Canadians who may or may not have consumed cannabis during prohibition.

Gone, in theory, are the days of needing to “keep 6,” or watch for the “pigs,” “ops,” or “five-O” around every smoky corner. This kind of behaviour may still be a knee-jerk reaction to some consuming cannabis in public spaces, or even those walking into a very legal recreational cannabis store.

And though there’s no real need to alert anyone of cannabis enforcement officers within a completely legal marketplace, one keen Leafly staffer discovered a funny point made in British Columbia’s cannabis retail rulebook.

Stores are prohibited from alerting customers to the presence of enforcement officers on-site. And the ‘Compliance & Enforcement’ section of British Columbia’s Cannabis Retail Store Terms and Conditions makes some amusing specifications on what that could entail.Join the Leafly Canada CommunityAs with all government regulated industries, inspectors are tasked with conducting investigations to make sure everyone is following established protocol, terms of sale, and operational compliance procedure.

These inspection actions may include testing a store’s security and age-gate measures, ensuring branding does not violate government no-nos, and that stores are not encouraging consumption through promotion.

But, in a place as secure as a bank, why should consumers care to be notified of visiting inspectors if we’re all participating in a legal marketplace?


Remember prohibition in Canada? That bygone era of hardwired narc-optics brought by years of hiding and real life consequences within an underground economy? Many do, and there may be some legacy consumers and operators who still believe in that US versus THEM mentality.

Yes, even in a legal cannabis store where everyone is (presumably) acting in accordance with the law. Old habits die hard.

On the second-to-last page of those BC Terms and Conditions, there are some clear directions for store operators encountering inspectors.

Some include: always allowing Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch inspectors or police officers into your establishment without hassle; providing documentation required by the Terms and Conditions if requested; and never drawing explicit attention to them so they can perform their tasks.

That last direction is where it gets a bit odd. The authors of the Terms and Conditions, whom we are thankful for, have gone a bit farther in explaining exactly how to “never draw attention to inspectors inside your establishment.”

Here’s the rub

In order to protect the safety of inspection officers, retailers are not allowed to perform:

“Actions such as announcing the arrival of inspectors, raising or flashing lights, turning down music, playing particular soundtracks (e.g. “Bad Boys” or “Hawaii Five-O”), using spotlights, or any other similar actions.”

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May we repeat: do not put the high beams on in the store, do not engage the disco ball, do not sway your fingers over the wind chime at the back, and DO NOT press play on that queued up theme song from the beloved Fox crime epic, Cops.

As you know, they wouldn’t put it down in writing if it wasn’t a problem. So in a similar vein, we do love to think that operators in BC were actually flipping a switch on “Bad Boys”.

But, what are we gonna’ do… now that those two very specific songs have been forbidden?

How could they miss these?

Since you’re not allowed to do any specific action that alerts anyone to any inspector, branch agent, or officer in store, we’re assuming that the authors are casting a wide net on attention-grabbing music.

But, in the name of crime and drama, and because the authors of BC’s Cannabis Retail Terms and Conditions started it, we’re dropping our own musical selections (that again, you’re not allowed to play) and asking the question, why stop at “Bad Boys” and “Hawaii Five-O?”

Please imagine the following songs being switched on during inspector situations:

When an Olivia Benson lookalike starts casing the joint:

When they’re wearing a long jacket:

When they’re wearing a wire:

When the only way out is through:

When things are spooky and you just want to believe in extraterrestrial justice:

When you’re just going for an old school vibe that still creates some tension in the air, but with some jazzy flourishes:

When you’ve read BC’s Terms and Conditions and have decided that the “Bad Boys” callout didn’t say anything about other songs from the soundtrack of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s critically acclaimed franchise of the same name:

When you’ve got better things to do:

When you’re Matlock and only want to Matlock:

And just for the record… You might run customers out of your store if you play these tracks legally, that is, without an enforcement officer present.

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Soj Ramsay-Taylor
Soj Ramsay-Taylor
Soj Ramsay-Taylor is Leafly Canada's Junior Editor, keeping an eye on the intersections between Canadian politics, arts, culture, and cannabis, of course.
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