Exploring higher limits

Published on November 4, 2018 by David Trifunov

Cannabis lounges in Canada

Twinkies are only $1.11 at Canada’s largest cannabis lounge.

But that’s not why most members enjoy Higher Limits in Windsor, Ont. The space bills itself as a safe place to “connect existing medical cannabis users with both new users and the broader cannabis community overall.”

Translation: it’s a place to mellow out with friends, and that vibe is hard to find in Canada even after legalization.

Along with legal weed came a whole bunch of conditions: no smoking near schools, no smoking near parks, no smoking where booze is sold, no smoking in your car.

Landlords can ban you from smoking, so unless you own your own home, you might be left out in the cold (just don’t think about smoking to warm up while you’re out there).

It’s one reason why the owner of Higher Limits opened his doors.

“You can go to a bar and buy a shot of whisky, or a pint of beer, or a glass of wine,” Higher Limits co-owner John Liedtke told CTV Windsor. “You should be able to come into my business and buy a pre-rolled joint, or a bong that’s pre-filled, or a brownie that potentially has THC in it.”

That’s the main reason Higher Times has welcomed 85,000 customers through the doors in 2 ½ years.

Should we expect to see more cannabis lounges — places that resemble nightclubs or bars where smoking is permitted — pop up across Canada?

Photo credits to higherlimits.buzz

Maybe, but like just about everything else, it will take time.

Second Cup coffee shops beat everyone to the punch when it announced plans to convert some locations to cannabis cafes in a partnership with National Access Cannabis.

There are 130 Second Cup coffee shops in Ontario alone, and nearly 300 across Canada.

“Second Cup has exceptional quality real estate in locations throughout Ontario and we plan to leverage this to provide safe and responsible access to legal cannabis,” said Mark Goliger, chief executive officer of National Access Cannabis.

The partners have similar plans for Western Canada, and plan to call them Meta Cannabis Supply Co.

The Second Cup/Meta shops are just retail right now, however. You still can’t spark up inside them, but if their gamble pays off, it could be a quick transition to consumption.

Maybe Victoria will host one of the first Meta cafes.

That city is already thinking about what happens when more places start to sell pot for fun.

City Coun. Isitt asked city staff in August to investigate loosening rules around lounges.

“There definitely are huge hurdles, which is why the motion isn’t saying ‘let’s do this’, it’s saying let’s investigate the practices elsewhere and report back,” Isitt said, according to the Times-Colonist newspaper.

Ontario isn’t shutting any doors, but it’s not swinging them open, either.

Part of the province’s pot laws include space for lounges — eventually.

The province is “proactively exploring … approaches that would provide more options for where people can consume cannabis without significantly increasing exposure to second-hand smoke and vapour.”