[CBC Windsor] Windsor’s first medical marijuana vaping lounge barely had time to open its doors and city officials are talking about finding ways to regulate this type of business.
Higher Limits is already buzzing with customers after opening about a week ago, according to co-owner Jon Liedtke, who says he offers a safe place for medicinal marijuana users to hang out while also eliminating some of the stigma attached to marijuana use.
“We want to bring cannabis out of the closet and put it in the forefront,” Liedtke told CBC’s Afternoon Drive on Monday. “Right in downtown Windsor is as much of the forefront as we think we can get.”
Located at the corner of Ouellette and University avenues in the heart of the city’s downtown, the lounge is able to open through a provincial business license.
The city doesn’t have any bylaws regulating vaping lounges, but Coun. Rino Bortolin wants to change that.
“We need to deal with it from a licensing and regulation standpoint,” he said. “If others are planning to open up, that should also give us the impetus to get a category soon to make sure that we can regulate it.”
Ensuring all customers are medicinal marijuana users won’t be easy because laws prevent staff from asking to see proof of a medical marijuana license. But Liedtke has hired retired Windsor police officer Alan Adams as a security consultant.
“If somebody’s coming in here and they’re obviously walking around and going from table to table and they’re talking – right away a red flag is going to go off,” Adams said. “That’s going to tell you this person maybe is going to buy or sell.”
Windsor police have not said they have any issues with the lounge, but they certainly will if recreational users are smoking pot on site, according to spokesman Const. Andrew Drouillard.
“Some of the people that may attend these places are in rightful possession of marijuana, so they’re following the law, but it’s our concern when [marijuana] starts falling into the wrong hands,” he said.
The lounge also prohibits the use of tobacco, alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs.
In a written statement, officals at the Windsor Essex County Health Unit said they are “currently working with the owner of this new premise to ensure that they are operating in compliance with all public health related regulations.”
Adam Moroz, who says he holds a medical marijuana license, likes the environment, saying it’s a “good place to come get high.”
He’d rather smoke at the lounge, instead of in his car where he says he can often attract attention from police.
“It’s more relaxing, it takes away the stress of smoking weed,” he said.
The lounge sells pipes, bongs as well as other paraphernalia. It also offers vaporizers to those who pay the $5 cover fee.
Entertainment so far includes video game terminals and pool tables, while Liedtke and his staff consider bringing in live performances for regular jazz nights. They are also considering offering a yoga program.
With files from Joana Draghici